18 February 2007

It's Always a Good Idea to Attach the Head Set (1921)

Over at Allan Holtz's comic strip blog, the excellent (but mischievously named) Stripper's Guide, there are three panels of Today's Hook-up from the early 1920s . This was a daily cartoon by J.C. Henderson that sent up the new craze for radio.

The radio aficionadoes in Today's Hook-up are obsessed with pulling in that signal (hard work at times, apparently) and checking those program guides, to the point of neglecting everything else.

You can't help being reminded of the Internet, especially when it was just taking off and people were struggling with setting up their new computers and connections and, yes, getting a bit obsessed in the process.

There's a frustrated listener in the first panel who has 'worked and worked for over an hour' and 'didn't get a thing'. He's forgotten the classic first step of any tech support protocol: First and foremost, check to make sure all cables and cords are plugged in and firmly seated.

Or, as the caption says, It's Always A Good Idea To Attach The Head Set.

10 February 2007

The sounds of not listening properly

I bought Simon and Garfunkel's album Bookends when it came out in 1968. I nearly wore out the vinyl on my copy over the summer of '68-'69.

But it wasn't until I listened to it on my mp3 player this afternoon that I heard, sampled in the background of Save The Life of My Child, the opening vocal from their 1965 hit The Sounds of Silence: Hello darkness my old friend/ I've come to talk with you again. It's at 1.20-1.26, during that spaced-out instrumental break.

I know I'm a poor listener, but I can't believe it took me nearly forty years to notice it.