I could see it glistening on the dirty grass of the kerb as I looked from the window. I knew straight away what it was. I wondered how it got there as I walked across to see it closer. This used to be a much more common site.
Spun out reel.
A thin line of shiny brown tape leading to a messy tangle.
A shivering cluster.
On these squiggly lines is a message, a message I can hear just by piecing it back together. It will play, it will make some sort of sense because this isn’t a collection of invisible numbers. This is sound held on by the particles of it’s being.
I was sitting on the sofa, my arm laid back over my neck and I could here the ticking of my watch over my shoulder (I like this sound, it means I can still hear things). I was watching a program about John Lennon, he was making recordings with Yoko and I started to think about tape. Again.
The slow spinning wheels. How all that sound is particles on magnetic tape. How if I put my finger there, it will slow down and a whole new sound is made, my understanding of it altered. The fact I can see it doing something is an explanation in itself.
I have a device no bigger than a pencil case I’d have taken to school. It will record things with such clarity, it will record many things at once. It is convenient and practical and all the other things that digital technology has created. But that’s it. It has a counter but it’s it’s just numbers on a screen and inside it’s just numbers – streams of zeroes and ones and ones and zeroes.
I want to feel particles and atoms, here the whir, the drag of the belt. A surface I can write the date on. Something that digital can not replace.