Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ode to a Brown Box

How long have you been there by my side, lulling me to sleep? Such a pathetic looking thing, not even state of the art when the state of the art wasn't very good. You probably couldn't even find a home in a retro kitsch diner.

No, I cannot bestow you with the honour of being the original sonic signal -- that belongs to the "family stereo unit", that peculiar species of 1970s technology. The stereo that's made to appear as a piece of furniture. The burnished brown particleboard, the luxurious velour latticework, and then the internal secrets revealed -- not just a turntable, but the futuristic 8 track deck, its silvery plastic exterior gleaming in the subdued light of the middle class living room, complete with wall to wall carpeting stapled over that horrid hardwood. And so much room to cache all your records (those that haven't been upgraded to 8-track yet, of course): News of the World, Dynasty, Live at Bukokan and ... hold the line ... Toto.

No, I cannot credit you with that. But as the next decade (aka Modernity) dawned, you came into my life. So complex, so many buttons to push. So many shiny plastic knobs to manipulate. Such metrics of meretricious melodies to marvel at. You were the conduit to my muscial awakening, before falling into the clutches of the metallic masters. What teenager doesn't go through that phase, except for The Square Corner? What a Golden Age. Keeping my head above the oceans of DEP that deluged the domestic environs of the (still) middle class living room. Ultravox, Heaven 17, Missing Persons, such memories (trauma?) of the New Wave. Again, nostalgia fucking with your head. The "classic rock" of the new generation, it seems. Missing Persons, you get a pass, since you had the great Terry Bozzio back on the kit. Too bad your wife provided the vocals though. And, sadly, my introduction to Neil Young -- Trans. This poorly schemed experiment is the primary reason that I came to Neil Young relatively late in life.

All of these vibrations emerged out of you, my friend. And now, so many sleeps later, you're still on my bedtable. Resurrected from your retirement, once again the airwaves crackle with life. Despite the Darwinian imperatives, you have outlived the ghettoblasters, the Walkmans, the Discmans, the laptops. Postgame shows, CBC news, Brave New Waves, right through to the Strombo show. In the epic struggle vs. the night hag, you are my armour.

Thank you, little brown box.


  1. Fisheye,

    Caught your blog via SQ and the Dox. I hear you on the Trans album - Ragged Glory is the glory. Enjoyed the post.

    P.S. - that Night Hag is a bitch.

  2. Very good. Vinyl rocks! Vinyl jazzes up your life! Vinyl is the classical sounds spinning over and over again like Bartok to a Beethoven sonata!! Good post. Heard about it on the radio.