I occasionally use this blog to write about non-professional topics. I confine these posts to “Casual” Friday.
I recently was reminded of a Rush song from 1981 called The Camera Eye. It’s an interesting song because it’s the last song the band wrote which is longer than ten minutes, and it hasn’t been performed live in concert in over 25 years (so was “retired” from concert play only two years after its release). As such it has a special place in the heart of hardcore Rush fans (ahem).
I was thinking of the song at work and realized I wanted to hear it. I loaded up my media player, typed “Camera” into the search box, and picked which version of the song I wanted to hear (the studio version, or a bootleg recording from the Chicago Amphitheater, from March 1981). I picked the bootleg version, the song began, and I smiled as I went about my afternoon work.
There are a few things which are completely astounding about this experience, which I realize I take for granted.
The most obvious is that I have all my music at my fingertips. At home, at work, and on the go if I choose, I have every piece of music I’ve ever bought the bits for, as well as some rare tracks like this one which are only found online. Something else? Rapid search. I mean, you could carry a box of a thousand CDs around with you, but finding the single track you might want in a split-second like that? Good luck. Finally, it’s the fact that I was listening to a bootleg recording someone grabbed in 1981 that somehow found its way to my USB drive 27 years later. It used to be that owning a rare track like that was the mark of being a truly hardcore fan. But in the digital world, rarity is an outdated concept.
I paused for a moment as I realized just how different the world I take for granted in 2008 was from the world I lived in as a child. In the 70s and early 80s, the experience I just described to you would have sounded like science fiction.
So, as a new dad, the logical question to follow up with was this: what will my daughter take for granted that I can’t imagine today?