The Unraveling & The Shuffling Of My Beginning To EndSaturday, December 28, 2013
|Paul Luchkow, Don Harder, Glenys Webster
In my living room I have a very good sound system that is of the CD player era but I also have, a tuner (few now would know its purpose) a tape deck and a linear tracking turntable. I have no way of playing MP3 files. My iPhone 3G is a telephone and no more. I do not own earphones of any variety.
I believe I might have known what would eventually happen in this century back in the early 50s. My grandmother (who was a fan of swashbucklers, pirate films and westerns) would take me to Calle Lavalle in Buenos Aires. This was a street that mostly had wall to wall cinemas. They featured something called “programa continuado”. We would enter one of theatres and watch a film somewhere in the middle. As soon as it was over we would see the beginning. At the point we had entered, we would leave the theatre and go to the next one and go trough the same process. Sometimes we would note that the next film would begin at a time that would give us an ice cream soda rest. We would take the rest.
That programa continuado was one of the few aspects of my life that did not seem to have the continuity of a beginning, middle and an end.
And then in the late 90s of the last century the CD player came with a button called shuffle. Here is where the trend that brought a continuous disorder to our life. I had not noticed that by the late 70s Saturdays and Sundays were disappearing. Bars were open on Sundays by the time of Expo 86. Some shops were open 24 hours and in fact never closed. The concept of day and night, weekdays and weekends began to blur.
It had been in Mexico in the early 70s when I had noticed that many plants in the city became confused with the lack of seasons. It was poet Homero Aridjis who stated that there was a season of extreme smog and one of not so much fog. There was a season when birds would drop from the sky and a season when they didn’t.
In the 50s during the rainy season it would rain for a couple of hours in the afternoon. That was replaced by a seemingly eternal, “What now?”
When I listen to music in my living room I sometimes read, but not always. If I go to the kitchen to re-heat my tea in the microwave (I am modern in some respects) I can hear the music filtering through opened doors into the kitchen. I have no wireless (or of the wired kind) in my kitchen so I will not hear the immediacy of music that is “right here”. I am most happy to live for hours on end without listening to music either because I want to listen to it or to have it as some sort of comforting background.
One of the techniques that served me well in my photographic studio when I photographed people was to never play any kind of music. The silence would put many of my subjects on edge. I liked it as this meant they never let their thoracic diaphragm go.
In my bathroom I have no radio or water-proof MP3 player. I like to read in a hot tub with silence.
In bed, in our bedroom there is no music. The only sound might be a passing car on the boulevard. We have a clock radio but we now use my iPhone’s subtle wakerupper sound to get us up without stress.
In the garden there are no outdoor speakers. We have never channeled sound from the living room into the garden. The garden has its own sounds. I savour them but I cannot ignore the spring time pressure washers of the neighbourhood.
In the living room I like to pick up a CD or a record. I like to see what is in it and I usually listen to them in the order given. I will listen to some Bach, perhaps some Monk after, followed by Corelli or Twardzik. But I would never listen to one cut of each in no particular order in some shuffle mode. I have a friend who told me once he had downloaded so many hundreds of books. Would my friend shuffle read them?
At one time, when I worked I could tell you if it was Sunday or Tuesday. I am now having problems with that one. I find that I don’t necessarily have to go to bed at some special hour. Nor do I need to get up in the morning at any hour in particular.
The order that was my life is unraveling but I can still hold on to my beginning and end, from here to there with my music.
Programa continuado, be damned I will see films from the exact beginning to the exact end and no in-between will do.
The distillation of perfect sound
The distillation of perfect sound