John Walker's Electronic House

by on Aug.14, 2004, under The Rest

Friday was absolutely rubbish.

I got up at 9am in order to get on with packing first thing.

And enough with the spluttering. I went to bed at 2am, so 9am was a perfectly reasonable time to get up. Just because your silly job makes you get up at a time you find painful and difficult to awaken, don’t complain because I don’t deny my body’s natural, chemical desire to get up between 9 and 10. And of course, the reason I was up at 2am was because I was working, doing my job.

So up at the crack of mid-morning, I came into the study for the morning’s usual webtrawl, preparing before the attack against two years’ worth of the paper piles that make up the wobbly, slippery carpeting in my workspace. And then the weirdest noise comes from my computer.


I realised eventually it was one of the hard drives, at which point the computer locked up, and I rebooted. To no avail. More of the


and no boot. The terror began to set in. The question was, which of the three hard drives was it.

Unplugging and replugging revealed it was the brand new 160GB drive I bought a month ago, on which I had stored six years’ worth of mp3s, both music and comedy, as well as all my games and save files from previous games. If it had been the boot drive, it would have been fairly catestrophic – no Windows, no boot, no computer. If it had been the 80GB drive, it would have been similarly terrible – all my writing and applications. So I suppose, incredibly grudgingly, it was the right drive to go.

That didn’t take away the empty, sucking feeling in my stomach, as I sat in front of the screen so gutted as to not know how to react. It was the comedy files mostly, I think – years of collected radio comedy and stand up, some of it very rare and precious. The music could be replaced, either by re-ripping the CD, or… evaluating another copy of the albums. But the comedy had either been recorded from the radio (CRIME!) or sourced from various websites or downloaded via P2P. I’m talking about stuff going back as far as the 60s, and most of it unavailable for sale anywhere.

And then I remembered that the only way these files were on my new HD was because they’d been copied from the previous ones. I’ve heard that files can be recovered from hard drives, even after they’ve been formatted, but I’m not sure I ever took it seriously. But by the magics of a clever little application, GBs of comedy programmes magically reappeared from a formatted drive. In the end, I’ve recovered quite a lot of what was lost, for which I’m unbelieveably grateful. There is a lot lost altogether, and losts of bits are missing from here and there, but it’s all infinitely more than I thought I’d have 12 hours ago.

Huge thanks to Jonty, for keeping me calm as it all fell apart, and reminding me that the files were still recoverable. Also to Richard Cobbett and Kieron for helping out with recovery tips. And massive thanks to Stuart Campbell for being right about everything, again. I’d also like to thank my mother and father, without whom I wouldn’t have achieved any of this. And my producer, director, and co-stars. You’re all [sniiiiiff] beautiful people.

The moral of the story is: back up your files, kids. Don’t put it off. The empty sucking feeling says NOW!

But this all meant little packing got done, and my sister and her husband are visiting tomorrow, so time is getting thin. I’m away all next week, so I really need to be out of here by Sunday. Blimey.

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