October 19, 2009
We're headed for a day when static will be a thing of the past. Signals will all be binary, either there or not with nothing in-between. I couldn't be more sad about this.
Truly local radio was once one of the great appeals of a long backroad drives. Dime store preachers in Texas. Blues in Alabama. Punk whenever you hit a college town late at night. Ranchera down along the border. Almost as good as hitting a great station was listening to it fade away. It gave you a sense of that you were going places and it made you feel you were traveling from someplace known into the unknown.
When I play a record I often imagine the stylus bouncing up and down along the grooves of the vinyl moving the magnets that send vibrations up to be amplified. Part of me knows that each play will inflict tiny scratches and bits of wear. One day the records will sound like like grandfathers' obscured by a warm blanket of noise. Play a record enough and noise is all that will remain.
It wasn’t so long ago that most local calls were as clear as a bell, but long distance calls were progressively degraded depending on the distance you were from the caller. It made long distance calls seem special. The static volume determined the importance of the call and as those calls were often from people you loved, the high noise to signal ratio made the love seem that much stronger.
Walkie Talkie Static
We were kids in the woods with walkie talkies exploring alone but together just out each other's of visual range. The static was the tether that kept us safe.