Essays and rock & roll. Looking and listening. Nostalgia versus skepticism.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
An Origin Story
In the Basement Era of analog cassette tapes all you needed was a steady hand, a screwdriver and some Scotch tape, the nerve to believe that a fortress made by man could be pried open and entered, and if you were lucky not to fatally crack the plastic case and get in, the world inside was promising, somehow comforting in its thereness, its tiny motocross of black tape and spindles over which you hover in a kind of preteen omniscience, your fingers impossibly large, trembling now to find and lift one end of the snapped tape and with a sliver of Scotch tape marry it back to the other end, all the while feeling as if you're creating fire or, because you'd just watched The Wizard Of Oz again with the family last night, that you've pulled aside the curtain, seeing what you're not supposed to be seeing, touching what had been invisible, magic, and private, the cassette tape vanishing and emerging from a dark you've now flooded with basement fluorescent light, humming, nervous as you reattach the plastic housing, hoping against hope that when you press play the homespun little-boy mend won't catch on the tape heads and split again, not aware even in your deepest imagination that one day tape will recede from the basements and bedrooms and rec rooms and from beneath tires on the driveway and streets out front, that one day the dark that you've imagined inside your Certron C90, the dark you cracked as puberty loomed and all sorts of unsolvable mysteries upstairs threatened, the dark entered with the suburban toolkit of tape-and-wish would merge with an anti-language spoken in 1's and 0's, that that dark that once seemed impenetrable would come to be seen as nonexistent, less a mystery to ponder than a digital nothingthere to never quite understand, a dark that stymies boys when they have the urge to mend, keep out.