Thursday, May 25, 2006

What Would David Byrne Do?

Out of everybody I know and have met, I was the last to get a mobile phone. It was only a few weeks ago I gave in to my disdain for the greedy little things. There were so many reasons not to have one. Coltan wars in the DRC, the blood curdling reason, and the scene I saw today, a nine year old outside the library texting God knows who, another.

For so long it was honorable not to be mobile, in touch and available. Not to be texting or texted and rarely even contactable on a landline. Email and phoneboxes were enough for me.

But things have changed. Not many friends were answering calls from unknown numbers from phoneboxes. It was starting to give me the da-dits. On a recent Saturday night I made fruitless calls from four phoneboxes in the Fitzroy area. I felt like a bigger mug than I usually give myself credit for.

So I've got one now and what have I done? What has it done to me? Seduced me to the point of jumping way way over to the world of crazy Glenn by recording my own ringtone, holding the phone up to my stereo, blaring Big Star's On The Street.

What made me do this? Who knows, but a few days ago in his journal, David Byrne came very close to working it out...
"On the train I can heart the faint cacophony of many distant cell phone rings. Snippets of Mozart and hip-hop, old school rings and pop song fragments — all emanating out of miniscule phone speakers. All tinkling away, here and there. All are incredibly poor reproductions of other music — these are “signs” for other music. Music not meant to be actually listened to as music, but to remind you of and refer to other, more real, music. They are audio road signs that proclaim “I am a Mozart person” or “I can’t even be bothered to select a ring tone”. A modern symphony of music that is not music but asks that you remember music."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that Bill Gates doesn't have a mobile phone, nor an email address (which I don't think I believe really). There is something to be said for resisting being that available to people. But it's not much help when you need to call a cab at midnight from the middle of nowhere.