Today’s WordBowl Word of the Day verbally submitted by A. Forell, who performs all necessary social networking in person, preferably over a cocktail.
A riff catches him, a melodic dissonance, hovering between the bits of conversation ping-ponging along the breach of the hash-hacked bar, he fumbles for his phone, raises it upward, activating the app to capture the song’s data, checks the result, snorts into his cocktail. A band he followed a lifetime ago, sampled, remixed, reconstituted, reinvented for this current epoch of perpetual, disposable invention.
Music of his memory was an event, a rite of physical ceremony, vinyl unsheathed, blow of breath across grooved expanse, precise positioning of pole through hole, anticipatory cackle and hiss. Or in the car, scavenging one-handed for cassette or eight-track, twining unspooled tape to tautness, hefty shove, clacketyclackclack, fingers crossed tippitytap on steering wheel until speakers cracklepop to life.
Or the beach, brushing sand from boombox, resorting — once the batteries died —to acoustic guitars lugged by musicians bereft of bands, eager for captive audiences. He drew the line at sing-a-longs.
Longing for albums not yet acquired. Envy of, eagerness for. The heady thrill of finally, at last.
People today live to their pervasive personal soundtrack, buds perpetually planted, ears sprouting wires, or padded speakers like earmuffs, tuned inward, while navigating streets, shopping malls, airports, subways, gym workouts, office work. Aural wallpaper.
Music no longer requires a moment of reverence or revile, simply hit playlist or pre-curated station set to preference, to music pre-programmed to taste, to pre-qualified acceptability and go, shuffle along to the next, shuffle through the infinite choices, virtually every musical thought ever expressed accessible at the tap of a single finger.
He appreciates he and his wife met — dank nightclub basement, walls dripping with sweat and other bodily fluids, heads boinking to the thresh-shred-howl — before either of them became indoctrinated into infinite availability. Theirs is a specific, sought, earned union.
He remembers the days of desire, tantalizingly out of reach, deliciously obtained.
The music shifts gears, he is the only patron to consciously notice. He makes the settle-up motion to the bartender, slides cash forward. Texts his wife, grinning. He knows exactly what he will program to play as he cooks dinner, as she walks through the door. Something historical, memory. Something new, provocative. They’ll shuffle, dance between the two.Turn up the volume. Annoy the neighbors. Blow out the speakers. Music was never meant to go gentle into the night.
east village, nyc
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