Friday, April 13, 2007

A Friday Hoppity

So, although I'm not sure if this is the official word of the station, the KOOP Spring 2007 Membership Driveis ending today. We have probably met our goal ($35,000) by now, & just want to be grateful & end the day with smaller & smaller requests for your help. Of course no money will be rejected, & I'll have special copies of "The Black Cassette" to give away on my own show for your pledges. So please listen. If you've been kinda down this week, & it reminds you of being a depressed teenager, my show should be a kind of comfort.

I won't be doing my show next week - I have an important presentation at work - but Art Baker of Jamaican Gold will be sitting in to do a Self Help Radio show about "Death & Taxes." I can't wait.

I'll be writing all next week, though, because I can. & because I've got writer's block in regards to my giant history of the war on sailing.

Do tune in! & do help give monetary support to Self Help Radio!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Whither The Black Cassette?

If you haven't guessed - & assuming you care - I haven't been doing very well during the current KOOP Membership Drive. I get lots of calls during my show, & hardly any of them are people telling me to fuck off & die, so I can only guess why this radio show I work so hard for is incapable of raising any money for the radio station I love.

Maybe these are some reasons:

1) Everyone's just being nice. I suck.
2) People who might listen to my show like other KOOP shows better & give their money to that show.
3) My Membership Drive shows haven't been very good.

I am a sensitive soul & it has broken my already flimsy heart to not do very well, & I do expect there will come a time when there's no more Self Help Radio on KOOP. But while there is, I might as well continue to do this blog.

If it's any consolation - even if everyone who read this blog gave money to Self Help Radio, I'd still not be doing very well. I see the stats. Do you know how many people looked at this blog since last Wednesday? 28 hits. & some of you come more than once.

What's that? You didn't know you were invited to a Pity Party? Indeed! You are the Pity Party Pooper!

As I finish my fourth decade on this planet, I am strangely out of step - I find it hard to believe I was in college twenty years ago, & that there are some albums that I've known for longer than I've known most of the people I know. So - as a kind of therapy for me - for this last Membership Drive show, I thought I'd revisit that time period. I was a very depressed & lonely boy & the music I loved reflected that. The band My Favorite have a song called "The Black Cassette" (if you haven't heard it, the lyrics are here) which describes what could have been for me the summer of 1987. Or 1988. Or even 1998 if you want to make a big to-do of it, except I was on the road to figuring some shit out by then.

The show this week will be my reconstruction of what my black cassette might have been in those days. It may be a little too dark for an afternoon show - I'll be playing Joy Division, for fuck's sake! - but let's face it, I'm not going to make any more money for KOOP than I already have. So instead I'll just play music that's been in my head & heart for nearly twenty years now.

Afterwards, of course, we'll be jamming the Suicide Hotline. Call them early.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Preface to The Black Cassette: An Elegy For Dead Media

I missed a bus yesterday & had to take one of the University's evening "combo" busses (cheaper than their "super-size" busses - no one can finish those trips!) & it went through a neighborhood I lived in five or six years ago & am never really around anymore. It's also been a glorious spring in Austin, so everything is lime green & glowing, even though the degrees the past few days have been closer to January temperatures than April ones (it's fine, though - it's over 80 degree today). Anyway, I did that thing that everyone does, clucking to myself how much has changed, oh, I remember who used to live there, etc., etc. It made me a little melancholy & I thought to myself, "If only I had never moved from here, I wouldn't be surprised by how much has changed."

Isn't that a weird thought? I really wouldn't want to live over there anymore - I like my house, I like my neighborhood - so what was I thinking? I was just missing stuff. Scientists have proven that, the longer you live, the more time you have spent, the more stuff you'll miss. Even with heavy drinking & possible brain damage from a lifetime of stumbles & head injuries, you can still have a sense of a place which, when disturbed, causes the feeling called "missing." I miss a lot of stuff. I've forgotten most of what I miss, but I miss it the same.

Tomorrow I'll talk about the last of my poorly-received Membership Drive shows, which is based on a song by the now-defunct band called My Favorite called "The Black Cassette," but today I just want to remember how amazing cassettes were for what seemed like the longest time of my life.

Nowadays, of course, we know the CD is over & we wait for the computer chips they'll plant in our head into which we can download songs. But I remember stealing my mother's cassettes - cassettes on which her parents in Germany had recorded their lives for her, cassettes she might have wanted to listen to when they died years later - to record nonsense on because, being 8 years old, I couldn't afford the 99 cents that a bag of three cheap cassettes cost. (Here's a fun correlation: a bag of cheap cassettes then, a spindle of cheap blank CDs today.)

I remember learning about cassette snobbery: when I asked a friend of mine to record something for me, he refused the cheap three-for-99¢ cassette I gave him, & used something he called "high bias" or something. Maybe I even learned that Dolby was not the name of that "Blinded Me With Science" dude. Whatever. It played just fine for me.

When I was was at KVRX, in the dwindling days before CD burning became a reality, I taped stuff from CDs that I reviewed. Short of buying the CDs (or stealing them, which I didn't do) taping was the only way to have them. Then - I think it must've been ten or so years ago - suddenly my department at work got a CD burner. I burned a shitload of stuff from KVRX in my last months there - I wonder what might have happened if technology were just a little bit faster...

Do I miss cassettes? They hissed. They got chewed up. They came (like CDs!) in plastic containers that cracked when dropped. I know I do miss making mix cassettes for girls. I do miss the care required in filling up two sides of 45 minutes each. An 80 minute CD seems charmless by comparison.

I have a feeling we'll be saying the same thing about [insert current technology here] in a couple of years. & I'll miss it. & hey! I might even make a radio show about it. What fun!