So I was eating a chip — one of those newfangled rectangular wavy chips (onion and rosemary), not like the crinkle cut in the picture here. Very nice it was. As I crunched away with the Labrador diving for crumbs below, my thoughts wandered to whether the maker of this wavy chip — designer or food scientist, whatever job title to which they may lay claim — were they really proud of this chip? Are they dedicated heart and soul to the art of chip production as is, say, a musician to his or her music? Are there chip fans out there who get as excited about the art of the chip as we in hi-fi circles do about music; are there chip appreciation groups among consumers, gathered to await the latest flavour release from various chip development ‘artistes’ in food studios around the world?

I entered a moment of what The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy would term a Total Perspective Vortex, wondering if the importance I ascribe to music is merely my subjective preference, one flavour of belief among many others — this person lives for music, that one for potato chips, another for knitting, or footie, and so on.

But isn’t music something beyond such interests — a universal harmony that can be combined with all these other activities? Knitting with music? Chips with music? It’s a fair argument, but you might say the same about chips... knitting with chips, music with chips, footie with chips...

To investigate further, I Googled “in praise of the potato chip” to seek out those persons truly dedicated to the chip. I got mainly recipes and health reports; no paeon to this particular presentation of the potato. For better targeting, I used quotes in Google around “I love chips”. This time there were 254,000 results. But once I had scrolled past an advert for The Gourmet Chip Company and a few enthusiastic posts by kids on ABC3, I was soon into alarming stuff spidered from Weightwatcher bulletin boards (“Oh gosh I love chocolate and chips together...”) and RSVP (“single Pisces female – I love chips. I really love chips! I love Aldi chocolate. I love the cookie monster...”).

So yes, some people do, it seems, love chips, perhaps a little too much. But love of music is surely a deeper love. When I Googled “in praise of music” the search engine returned a set of fervent and fascinating links, including a of that very phrase (a US resource of musicians and teachers), a book of that title with 365 quotes-for-the-day on the miracles of music, and many more links worth following. If you Google just “I love music” there are 15,900,000 hits, more than 60 times the chip equivalent. Phew; my perspective was restored.  

Of course, “I love music” is not the same as “I love hi-fi”. There is, sad to say, quite a large proportion of music fans who have never experienced what great hi-fi can do with their preferred genre of great music.

Happily we can fix that. The second Australian Audio & AV Show takes place in Sydney from 19-21 October, and that’s just the place to hear quite exceptionally beautiful sounds — endless top-notch hi-fi demonstrations across several floors of hotel rooms, and some stunning AV systems to shake you senseless. All the show information is in the Guide bundled with this issue; I hope we’ll see you there.

And lest you’re wondering, I think they’ll have chips available in the bar.


Jez Ford