Oh, Brave New World without Music

Posted by Princess Eva Angelica On 6:32 PM
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Alas, I am singing the blues this weekend. A cappella. Just my quivery voice going out into a void.

On Friday night my daughter The Heir and I journeyed to the World Cafe for a return engagement of The Residents. I triple dog dare you to find a weirder group of performance artists than these. In fact, many psychiatrists use live performances of The Residents as a test of sanity. If you sit and listen to the entire show, you're crazy. If you run screaming from the venue, you're sane.

Poor Heir. Totally certifiable. Not only did she attend the concert, she stood at the rail by the stage, the only girl amongst a crush of nerdboys who had that never-leave-the-basement pallor.

It's not fair to the concept of music to call a Residents performance music. So I can be safe in saying that since January, my entire experience of music has been reduced to short bursts of classic rock in the car, classical music during dinner (from the t.v., Mr. J's idea), and one lovely concert by Delhi 2 Dublin, which definitely qualifies as music.

No wonder I'm going nuts.

When I was a teenager, my parents gave me a record player from Montgomery Ward. I used my spare change to buy albums, and I played them on the record player. Some of my friends had 8-track tape players. Later I got a car with a cassette player, and that was great. Still later the CD player came out, and that was great too -- just seemed like little records. Pop them into the player and hit play.

Nowadays you need an IPod to listen to music. I don't have one. If I had one, I wouldn't have the foggiest notion how to use it.

I'm not the kind of person to block out the world by filling my ears with buds and listening to music instead of what's going on around me. But damn. I live in a suburb of Philadelphia. It's not like I'll be missing the trills of the nightingale if I hear a few tunes I like.

The Residents drove me to desperation. This can't be my only music! I've got to be able to hear "Fire and Rain" whenever I want! "Winchester Cathedral." Sam Bush. Earth, Wind, and Fire. "Get Up, Stand Up."

I want one of those gadgets that gets music off the Internet. The clock is not moving backwards. I have to step into the 21st century.

So this afternoon, my daughter The Spare said she would help me set up her old MP3 player to get some tunes. (She upgraded to an IPod at Christmas.) We sat down together. She got online and began clicking buttons. Click click click.

Two hours later we were still sitting there with no music to show for Spare's monumental efforts. We wound up calling the Rhapsody people and letting some dude named Earl with an Indian accent hack into our computer to try to fix whatever was wrong with Rhapsody on our end. Spare says it's fixed now and ready to load all the stuff of my dreams, but I'm afraid to touch the doggone little box -- and she's out with her friends.

Maybe you have to have been born into the digital age to be comfortable with music machines the size of credit cards. Maybe you have to be a Type A personality to work with this technology. I am sitting here in a silence broken only by the bizarre paranoiac screeches of The Residents, wishing I could just go back to those scratchy old records on a dusty turntable.

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