Who listens to the radio?

by Sayraphim on November 6, 2008

Three ladies attempted a conference call the other night, via the amazing technology of Skype and mobiles.

The other two ladies could hear each other fine, although there was a big time drag, so that they constantly talked over each other. But all I could hear was these weird computer noises, and it sounded like a Commodore 64 singing to me from the past. Very pretty, but not really condusive to converstation. Eventually, we gave up.

And it reminded me about the time the stereo in our car was dying. Well, that’s a little dramatic, as it’s not far gone from where it was when we got the car. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Let me tell you a story.

Our car is 16 years old and came sans aerial. This wipes the radio off the list of entertainment possibilities whilst in the car. It has a tape player, but the first time we tried it, it chewed the tape and spat it back at us. And it wasn’t the choice of music the car was objecting too, who could turn down Andy Prettyboy (of which I’m unsure of the spelling but sure of the music).

Then we had the bright idea of buying a faux tape thing that attaches to a cd player and using the stereo that way, which, after much searching of technology stores, we did. we plugged it in excitedly and pressed play on the portable crappy cd player we found under the bed and waited for the strains of music to well up. Unfortunately, the one working speaker under the dash didn’t live up to our surround-sound hopes. But we had music and we were happy.

But a few weeks ago, I was driving around and suddenly the music went weird. Well, it was a song from Avenue Q, so let’s say it went weirder. The drum dropped out entirely and the guitar sounded odd and the vocals were suddenly far off and sounded like a delicate machine was singing them. Then these weird dreadfully 80s synth-pop sounds started mixing in with the song and before I knew it, I was suddenly listening to odd sounding 80s remixes of all the songs on this mix cd, sung by machine. It was if machines had evolved to such a level that they were now a fully functioning aspect of society and had started putting out dreadful pop songs. Although they could sing in English, they still had their native machine accents on the words.

It was the aural equivalent of when the dvd player screws up and everything gets weird and disjointed and pixellated. It was actually very pretty. Depending on which layer of the track would drop out, I had 80s techno, acoustic without voices or accapella drums. I drove around all day listening to all my favourite songs as I’d never heard them before. Truely a soundtrack to the new millenium, played by a bunch of machines from the previous century.

Rock (or machine generated synth-pop) on!

And the weirdest thing was, after about a week and a half, it reverted back to how it used to sound, which is crackly from the dying speaker but once again recognisable.

We have a quirky car.

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