I’m working on a new CD, and would love to quickly demo my songs in the privacy of my living room. But since I’m not under 25, I wasn’t born with a digital device in my hand. I got my first computer in the days when they were powered by gerbils running on a little treadmill, and they involved about 10 keystroke commands. That’s it.
Also in those early days, I had a cassette recorder. When I felt a new song coming on, I’d slip a cassette in, hit Record, and let it run for 45 minutes while I tried endless combinations of chords, melodies and words as I strummed my guitar. When I needed to write a line down in my notebook, I’d hit Pause. And when I was done, I’d hit Stop and then Playback. Simple.
But then the whole world went digital – and we were blessed with so-called “smart technology.” Which is really a euphemism for “really, really complicated stuff with a gazillion features that most mortals will never need or use.” Trust me, when you buy a new thingy that’s supposed to make your life simpler, and the instruction manual is twice the size of the gadget itself and runs to at least 100 pages, your life is NOT about to get simpler.
Sadly, my cassette recorder, which I bought shortly before Confederation, is now dead and beyond resuscitating. So I went looking for a digital equivalent. Hah! Instead, I can get devices with 40 kinds of reverb, a gazillion EQ settings, and satellite-tracking software for all I know, but no simple Pause button. I can get others that are slightly simpler but whose playback volume is half that of my telephone receiver: I guess the inventors assume I’m going to plug it into some other fiendishly complicated device for playback, but what if I don’t want to bother??
Perhaps if had a Mac I could figure out GarageBand and use my computer to record, but then again, perhaps not. Because I seem to generate cyber-jamming electrowaves – things go wrong for me with both software or hardware that my computer guy has never seen happen on anyone else’s system. (Hell, I can even make someone ELSE’S computer crash just by standing next to it. It’s happened. More than once. The Pentagon should hire me as a secret weapon.) And, unlucky for me, I don’t have a 14-year-old living in the house to make it all work again.
So if anyone has a functioning cassette recorder out there they’d like to sell, let me know. I’m beyond ready again for some dumb technology!