I grew up in a technologically primitive age...not the level of a sword and sorcery epic (I've been watching Red Sonja), but still, we lacked a lot of things that are taken for granted now. Ah, I still remember the heady moment when, on a school field trip, we saw our first photocopier. Of course, I also remember how disappointed I was when we saw the quality of the reproductions, and the more things change...Hard to believe when I'm wrestling with the machine at the work that I was ever impressed by one of these monsters.
My Dad was a schoolteacher, and he too was an early adopter of VCR technology. It stands to reason, as much as anything in this world, that people with enormous libraries and tendencies toward collecting would see the value of being able to copy things. We knew, mainly from tv, that "home movie" cameras existed, but they were expensive and cumbersome to use, and I never knew any of those lucky kids with Super 8s that I'd hear about much later.
The one really ubiquitous technology of this nature was the audio tape recorder: cheap enough that even kids could have a Panasonic and hold it up to the radio, but still enough of a novelty that I could totally understand why people like Nixon and Warhol went around taping everything. I mean, you could!
Which probably explains why, when I was little, one of my dreams was to ride around my hometown on my bicycle and somehow "record" my impressions for posterity, using a tape recorder. This would never have worked, for various reasons. Partly because all I'd have ended up with would be bumpy noise. But mainly because: what kind of impressions was I going to be able to make when I was, like, eleven? I couldn't even stand the words I wrote in my diary, because my reach was already so exceeding my grasp.
This was kind of a curious dream, but I've had curiouser. Anyway, this all came back to me because I'm going to try to get set up some kind of family history web site with the family photos and the obituaries and whatnot. And I've been very impressed with the site my friend Trishymouse does called St. Vincent Memories (at http://56755.blogspot.com/) about thehistory of the area where she grew up. A large part of me has this very preservational tendency, that wants to photocopy the evidence and save the old crap on DVDs and, basically, walk around somehow tape recording the world.
But I'm afraid I have a bigger side that's all subjective, all the time. I don't know if I can collect information, and edit it and frame it and present it in a way that will be interesting to me, much less other people. And I always seem to keep intruding into my material. Whatever I'm talking about is a brawl I just have to get in the middle of.
But I guess it's good for me to try new things, new ways of expressing myself, or I'm going to go crazy and belatedly start a band. It's got to be easier to scan some photographs than it would be to build a psalmodikon...doesn't it?