Recently Lost Arts

While recording a ridiculous radio spot at Radio Thailand, ran into my colleague Junior, and caught up with some new faces in the news room. While I admiring his To The Five Boroughs CD, I spotted a Beastie Boys disc I had never heard of (true fan I am) but had to see what it was like. Some Old Bullshit is probably the most honestly, succinctly named album of all time. Not very good for the music, but as a history lesson it is great. The back cover of the sleeve includes a reproduction of probably the most earnestly written piece of hate mail you’ve ever seen. Denouncing, outrageous, rather witty, and yet somehow a bit sweet and actually not very caustic. So well done, Phoebe and Simon Stringer.

It made me feel like there’s some other stuff out there that a lot of people used to be very good at, but for various reasons not very many people see the art in them anymore. What do you think qualifies? Please add them to the comments below!

-A well-worded hate letter written on a manual typewriter.

-Remembering over ten phone numbers. In my head! (We only needed to know 7 numbers, of course).

-Drawing a cursive I (that’s a capital I, which if done right, looks like a toilet).

-Driving a stick shift. I know a lot of people still prefer it (and vinyl records and Betamax video) but there’s not the need anymore. In fact, a few decades from now, grandkids will ask us what it was like having to use a steering hoop.

-Setting the time on a VCR. Kids these days don’t know the Zen-existential frustration of seeing the “time as flashing 00:00.”

-Untangling a telephone cord. Clockwise? Counterclockwise? So many choices we had!

-Love letter. In an envelope. With tears and perfume. And a stamp.

-Repairing game cartridges by blowing on them. It’s like we were little magicians.

-Programming in FORTRAN or COBOL.

-And the most regrettable one of all, patience.


3 Responses to “Recently Lost Arts”

  1. 1 JateSujj
    November 16, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Making cassette mix tapes from the radio
    Using DOS to play games

  2. November 16, 2010 at 10:18 am

    A few off the top of my head:
    – Using a CB radio to pick up longwave radio stations.
    – Using a walkie-talkie and thinking that it was a pretty big deal.
    – Making a mix tape for your favorite girl (or guy).
    – Developing film in a darkroom
    – Creating an awesome message on your answering machine.

  3. 3 Jon
    November 16, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Nice, a couple more perhaps:

    – Recording mix tapes/taping from the radio using cassettes

    – BBC B computers

    – those glasses that gave you a cinematic view of photos and slide shows…did they ever have a name?

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