I’ve been thinking about the role of CD’s in our children’s developmental story line. They have been listening to home made CD’s since birth. The focus has shifted from music to nap to, to music class songs, to more recently, books on CD. The kids imitate and laugh about the lady who comes on at the beginning of the story to say, “this podcast is presented to you by Audible.com.” I wonder if Ry or J will ever begin a story with “Once upon a time.” I have become so dependent on being able to “burn” CD’s that it is hard for me to imagine being a parent without them.
There is a part of me that misses the social interaction or sense of community that came with music in the past. I remember standing by the glass door to the record store and looking in to see the rows of bins with records, 45’s in shelves, and portable record players. The owner’s wife had a white puffy hairstyle like a cartoon character might and a white poodle to match. She knew me. My sister would buy records from her and then we’d listen on the red, portable player. I liked going there, but as Pacific Stereo came in to town, the record store closed.
“Pacific Stereo” provided a generation of boys an outlet for displacing some of their sexual energy. They sold massive speakers, where bigger was better. You became familiar with woofers and tweeters. When you touched the large speakers, you could feel the vibrations throughout your body. We spent our free time just wandering the two floors of turntables, tuners and speakers. It was still pretty exciting to push the “power” button and watch and wait for the red light to go on. The big knobs on the tuners only added to the feeling of being powerful. When you turned it up, the sound just pounded in the room and no one cared. And then, like the record store and our adolescence, one day, the sign on the store window said, “We’ve Lost Our Lease-Everything must go.”
The end of Pacific Stereo ended my experience of a community based music experience and began the era of the “SONY Walkman.” It’s shocking to me when I see walkman knockoffs for a couple of bucks in Walgreens. I can still remember the first time I held the silver square box and put the silver headphones with orange ear pieces on. I was on a train from Rome to Florence, Italy. I was skeptical about how great the sound was, but I agreed to listen. I can still hear the “shhhhhhhhh” sound the tape made before the song began; and Paul Mc Cartney singing “Live and Let Die” followed by the guitar and the orchestra. I remember feeling transported out of my skin. The sound was crystal clear. It made the train appear to go faster. From then on, I loved putting on the Walkman and turning my ordinary world into a music video.
And now, I listen to the same music I probably bought at the record store as an LP, then at Pacific Stereo on tape, and as a greatest hits arrangement on the Walkman, and now as a down loadable song on my Ipod. I wonder what their story will be? Will Ry and J laugh at thought of burning a CD? I joked with my wife that Ipods will be on sale for a $1.00 at the thrift stores in several years. What will replace it? I think the next wave will have devices that are as small as rings or hearing aids. Perhaps we’ll all take a pill that will allow us to hear the music or watch the images we want in our brain. I just see the technology getting smaller and smaller, until it is simply passed on from one generation to another through your DNA.