To a basement events space in Covent Garden -- Nutopia, with fab tropical fish and acres of flat-screen monitors -- for Sony's launch of its Walkman 2002 range. I was there for the gadgets, but nonetheless had to sit through someone blonde from MTV telling me how music was important to youth culture (No! Really?), someone bald from the planet Strange making beat-box noises with his mouth (fun for five minutes, excruciating for ten) and someone tall from Germany being diffident about marketing research.
But the gadgets were cool, even if it was hard to get as excited as Sony about the success of khaki livery in last year's lineup and the subsequent introduction of yellow this year. The newest Minidiscs have a USB connection and can download an hour and a half of music in three minutes, there's a rather strange but cool DVD walkman and Sony's first CD player that does MP3 discs as well.
This being Sony, of course, there was no mention of the MP3-only portable music devices. They're from another division and thus beneath contempt. As for the relationship between Sony Music, who does records, and the walkman people over encouraging people to copy music around the place, the best I could get out of the marketing man was that there was an active discussion within the company on the issue. Oh, and a hard stare.
I bet. Minidiscs of those telephone conversations would be interesting indeed.