Tuesday, February 24


Lost Metaphors

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

William Gibson, Neuromancer

What? Bright blue?

That's what colour my TV is when it's tuned to a dead channel.

I was just watching the start of Chrno Crusade, and the opening credits are old, degraded film stock, with all the blips and streaks and wiggly things you get with old films. Of course, it wasn't really, since Chrno Crusade was made last year; it's a digitally generated effect.

But I wonder, if all you had ever seen was digitally-projected perfection, what you would make of this?

After all, we are already bringing up a generation to whom Y*(*&)@$^%B)#@$)(^F@#%)(T NO CARRIER means nothing. ADSL and cable modems don't do that, and even on dial-up you're more likely to see a friendly pop-up message saying "Windows has detected some sort of problem somewhere".

You don't get the scrunchy, crackly sound of old vinyl records any more. I have about a dozen LPs stashed away... Somewhere. I don't even own a turntable. I still recognise the sound, of course, and a period song from the thirties or forties or fifties with that sound behind it will serve quickly to set the stage for a film or TV show. But how much longer will producers get away with that?

The sound of a shortwave radio that is just barely bringing in a signal?

The sound of a radio being tuned between stations using an analog dial rather than push-buttons?

The clatter of a manual typewriter, the chatter of a high-speed impact printer?

The whirr of a film camera? The mime routine for filming something - one hand curled in front of the eye, peering through; the other hand cranking the film along at a steady 24 frames per second?

The click! of a camera shutter? Did you realise that in some places digital cameras are legally required to produce a click sound? And since they don't do so naturally, they need a small speaker to digitally reproduce the appropriate sound?

Maybe that's the answer. Maybe televisions should generate artificial static when your digital HDTV set-top box conks out. Maybe all mobile phones should be leigislated to go ring ring rather than bip-bip-biddely. After all, no matter what the ring tone is, everyone reaches for their phone.

Maybe electric cars should be programmed to "backfire" every so often, and generate a nice throaty roar when you stomp on the "gas".

And maybe someone should write a program for Windows so that just when you least expect it you suddenly see Y*(*&)@$^%B)#@$)(^F@#%)(T NO CARRIER

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:25 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 436 words, total size 3 kb.

1 What scares me most is that the technology is moving beyond our ability to understand it. I can make a (rudimentary) record player out of a needle and a styrofoam cup... I don't think the same principles could be applied to, say a DVD burner. Personally I will hang on to my "antique" record player, typewriter and reel to reel tape for as long as possible. That way when the world tears itself apart and technology is crashing down around our ears, I can stick on some Beethoven and write my journal the old fashioned way.

Posted by: robert at Tuesday, February 24 2004 09:37 AM (kXZI6)

2 I still have a turntable. Y*(*&)@$^%B)#@$)(^F@#%)(T NO CARRIER

Posted by: Kathy K at Tuesday, February 24 2004 08:55 PM (FfbIN)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
47kb generated in CPU 0.0191, elapsed 0.8034 seconds.
56 queries taking 0.7953 seconds, 341 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.