austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Creola on my Victrola makes me feel like dancing

Really, if there is one thing that defines the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame besides my endlessly protracted trip report it's that they've got stuff. All kinds of stuff. Yes, there's music, but the things they've gathered are just staggering. For example there's Janis Joplin's psychedellic-painted Porsche, license plate LRS 842, 1968 registration. Jimi Hendrix's childhood drawings, some of them rather funny such as one with a disappointed set of crocodiles being told, ``Sorry, feeding time isn't until tomorrow''. You can probably interpolate the sort of picture which goes along with that caption.

One of the side rooms that fascinated me was just music-transmission technology through the ages, which started out with Edison wax cylinders that, so far as I know, never held anything rock or rolling, through to more practical forms of audio technology like a Coronet Boys Transistor Radio; if I make out my notes correctly this is one of those radios that's a little bit smaller than Spock's tricorder but at least could, in theory, be used by people who didn't have six car batteries strapped to their backs. And then it went right back to the impractical technologies with a little diorama featuring ``1966: United States cars are equipped with eight-track audio players'' and no explanation of the day cars decided they didn't need that anymore. A Pioneer turntable from 1975 appeared to be taken from my parents' old house, possibly without their knowledge; and they had an example of the circa 1987 Digital Audio Tape no actual people ever owned. (Yeah, yeah, so they were popular with editors. So was the imaginary two-thirds inch videotape format.)

I suppose it shows off a lot of my personality that I spent untold time staring at obsolete recording and transmission equipment, but listened to a total of one and a half songs in the whole afternoon there. Happily, I know that several of the people I'm expressing this to would have similar priorities.

Trivia: Thomas Edison's early November 1877 thoughts for his recording cylinder were that it would be about one foot long and have about ten ``threads or embossing grooves'' to the inch. Source: Edison: A Biography, Matthew Josephson.

Currently Reading: First Down And A Billion: The Funny Business Of Pro Football, Gene Klein, David Fisher.

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