So, drop the needle onto a record. That crackle that you hear, that familiar sound. I was thinking about that today. Well, actually I was being morbid. Thinking about recordings of people who aren’t with us any longer.
I’ve listened to Otis Redding a million times. But there is so much life and energy in those recordings that I forget he died before I was born. And imagine if he was a relation of yours. Would it be scary or weird to hear him singing at you. Or a comfort?
Anyway, this led me to think about those recordings, dead people’s words, voices, old rooms and equipment caught on tape. Ghosts essentially. And I thought how amazing it is to have those in your house, to listen to, to be inspired and excited by.
Then I thought about putting an old record on and the dusty crackle. That 7″ you bought in 1983 from Beesley Brothers on the corner. Dusty. Dust.
Average dust in our house in the 70s and 80s was mostly human skin and cigarette ash. So that sound on the single could be bits of old family members, old friends and girlfriends or boyfriends. It could be the sneaky Benson and Hedges you puffed on after your mum went to bed. Or your mum’s ever constant Consulate No2. Tiny particles of the past being drawn to the recordings of ghosts. Past to past.
I freaked myself out a little. Its no wonder I prefer MP3s.
We’ve got a tape my uncle made one christmas day long ago. He thought it would be a laugh to secretly record everyone opening their presents on his new tape recorder. A few years ago when my aunt died, Jimmy had been dead ten years we found the tape when clearing out there house. I listened to the first thirty seconds, broke down and turned it off.
I still have it but it has never been listened to since and even remembering it and typing this has me welling up and a lump in my throat.
It is weird to think about. Ten thousand years from now, barring any kind of apocalypse, people will probably be able to see and listen to recordings of what is to them ancient history. I remember being struck by the bit in Minority Report, where Tom Cruise’s character has been watching the holographic recording of his dead son over and over. The thought of that affected me quite strongly, it’s far more merciful to have memories that will slowly fade.
Famously “Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise. I said, “Listen, mate, life has surface noise” – John Peel
(and to be alive is to walk through the dust of everyone who came before)
I just dusted the ceiling fan in our kitchen. God knows who I wiped away doing that. But it was filthy!
blimey. you’ve been saving up the good stuff dearie. choked a bit here. ta.
Proper writing that Simon.