Casual Friday: The Camera Eye

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  But in the digital world, rarity is an outdated concept.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?


#1 Ivan on 10.03.08 at 11:36 am

Change for the worse if you ask me but I’m a grumpy old man. I have too much music. About 20’000 tracks, some of which I’ve never listened to. I miss the days of coming home with a bunch of CDs or picking up a bootleg at a fair or (older again) browsing through albums just to look at the artwork. Didn’t the Dead Kennedy’s say “Give me Convenience or give me Death”? I don’t think so in this case 😉

#2 Dave on 10.03.08 at 2:49 pm

I agree, some of the magic is gone … but I wonder if it would be gone anyway. I used to seek out new music online but have been “too busy” with life to bother of late. Maybe it’s not just the tech that has changed!

#3 Joanne on 10.03.08 at 6:05 pm

Rush??? Who even knows who they are anymore?? This proves (we) are getting older…as our parents did, as our children will ~ embrace that which we once took for granted, and pray for nothing else to change

#4 Christian on 10.03.08 at 6:39 pm

DK! That was the name of one of their albums.

Another interesting thing to look at is the stuff we had as kids that our parents didn’t have. We have turned into a disposable society. Everything we own is disposable these days. In the old days, you bought a good pair of shoes and changed the soles, you fixed clothing that had holes, your TV lasted years. Today everything gets thrown away because the manufactures realized that if they sell something that lasts too long, they don’t get to sell it to you again. I even read an article recently that the new flat panel TV’s are designed to break in 3-5 years so you buy another one. The old tube TV’s lasted for so long.
I could rant on and on about this.

As for what our kids will take for granted? I bet that by the time my kids are my age, desktops won’t exist. And I think that you will see more technologies combined into one device. Cell phone, camera, video camera, GPS, POS, EZ Pass, etc.