Sucks that the mix CD is going to disappear, much like the mix tape it killed before. The iPod giveth, and the iPod taketh away. Listen, it was probably the ultimate in easy "get to know someone" presents. Want to give something to a girl that implies no attempt at making a pass (it's just a gift after all) and that would make it easy for her to talk to you if she wanted to? Well, the CD is instant conversation topic -- perfect for that.
Like little peacocks, we'd research bands that you girls would like; we'd build collections. We spent hours agonizing what you'd like based on what you wore last time we saw you and what we wanted to be seen listening to.
By arranging the songs, we got to play DJ/artist, we got to show off our depth and culture, and we got to create an image of ourselves, hidden behind whatever images the bands we chose were selling. We'd sculpt the CD with an attention to detail that no one could appreciate fully. Like, where to insert the ironic, happy song (George Michael in an indie set), where to put the slow song that shows how in tune with our emotions we are, and then the epic, artsy closer.
(The mix tape had an alluring strength over the CD btw: one spent at least an hour making it -- that's about how long it took to record to one of them. With CDs, you drag them over and are done in a minute or two.)
And then the artsy side, the obligatory art on the CD liner and scribbles on the plastic cover. It wasn't complete without art. Stickers? Sure. Fragments of poems? Oh, yes. Cryptic hints of attraction? Well, cryptic to the artist's mind, anyways.
And now? Well, we still trade music -- MP3s, CDs, albums (assuming a physical trade occurs). We just direct someone to a link. The finesse is gone. No more agonizing whether the slow song goes third or fourth on the comp, just bring over the band's whole catalog. I guess you can still record and dedicate a DJ set to someone, though that's more limited both in who can do it and who would appreciate it.
Want to make a bundle? Create a website that allows one to replicate that. The key functionality would be to allow shy boys to make hour-long music 'things' for shy girls, ones that they both can put on their little MP3 players. Because, while the mix CD is going, going, gone, nothing else is changing. The universe's supply of shy boys, pretty girls, and music is limitless. But mix tape and mix CD, you were fundamental in my adolescence, and while it's self-centric for me to identify your passing with an end of a personal life chapter, it's fitting that the two happened at the same time. Thank you for everything. Goodbye.
Post Date: November 8, 2006
Post Title: The Temple San Diego lost one of its temples this past year. No one noticed. It stood on the intersection of Kettner and Broadway, on the border of all the lines of force in the city and the ocean currents. I'd been in the building a few times. To get in, you walked around to the south wall and lifted one person up to the windows. They pushed their way in, hopped to the floor, and opened the doors from the inside for everyone else. The building would expand before you like a cathedral: a colossal empty space, light filtering in from high windows, a staircase leading up to the choir loft, and a pewless nave leading to a baldachin made from a colossal three-story metal lattice.
The place was stripped; all that was left was the building's inner skeleton. The only light came from giant unstained windows. The building was not without surreal turns; in one spot where an upper floor had collapsed stood a door that lead from nowhere to nowhere -- just a door placed up high in a dividing wall.
One unusual thing: there was almost no trash in the place. In my experience, abandoned buildings, especially ones in the middle of a city, fill up with broken bottles and food wrappers, but the temple was empty. Part of it, no doubt, was the difficulty of getting in, and part of it was that the building was invisible in the city around it. And I think one couldn't help but feel that they were in a special place.
I feel empty spaces are needed for sanity. The infinite is not impressive, since we can't get a grasp on it; large and empty works much better for capturing that sensation. An empty space lets our eyes relax into space and lets us feel a sense of perspective on ourselves. The temple was exactly that.
The real estate was far too valuable, I imagine, and I'm amazed it stood there for as long as it did. I'll miss it.