I want to talk about something that you’ve all been waiting for me to talk about. I think there’s never a right time and there’s always a right time, so I’m going to go for it… time travel. I know you thought sushi. “It’s always food with this guy.” No, I’ll talk about sushi on the next column. I think of this as a column. The 1960’s is when I first started reading books that were collections of columns by Art Buchwald, Howard Cosell, (I don’t expect you to know any of these names) and the descendents of Mark Twain. There’s more that goes into a blog and the printed word. It’s a bit more sacred because it lasts longer when it ends up on paper. Steve Jobs said that he felt terrible for new, young artists who only worked in the digital forum because all of their work is going to disappear. In my business alone, (I know you’re wondering… “What business is that Diamond Dave?” It’s telecommunications in all of its departments including women’s lingerie. I am that ant in your pants) there has been 80 different transfers of media. I have entire record albums that I can take out to Henson Recording Studios (In one handful of visits I’ve run into everybody from Timberlake to McCartney… excuse me, I think I just dropped a name. They look me square in the eye and say Dave, “We can’t transfer that anymore. We don’t have that machine” or “That machine isn’t made in America. We know where it’s made but we currently have an embargo.” Where is my record now? You’re breathing it…
When you listen to a record album today it isn’t even close to what it was when it was recorded. If you listen to vinyl on a tube amplifier, for which it was created, it’s a much different sound. Better? Worse? Doesn’t matter. It’s a completely different experience. I saw The Mechanic where Jason Statham plays an assassin with really good taste. He’s a deadly sociopathic killer but, in a good way. He’s an audiophile — that’s a fancy, quasi-Latin way of saying really, really picky about his sound. Statham has a turntable with a tube amp that clearly comes from somewhere Slovic. His records are treated with absolute reverence which takes me back to my very beginnings where you had to wipe each record clean with a special lint-free cloth.
Sidebar: There are three things that all happened around the same time that led to a generational prison break in terms of sexual freedom for both sexes and everyone in between. I was there to witness all of them. The first was the pill. That enabled women… (I don’t even have to finish) to rethink everything from job descriptions to education and family. It re-shaped virtually everything.
The second was The Twist. It was the dance that pimply little hook-nose wallflowers like me could do alone. As far as Eddie Van Halen is concerned, I still think I’m alone up on stage and it’s driving him crazy. Every dance up until The Twist needed ballroom dancing classes.
The third most important thing in the 1960’s time period was the multiple record changer. Previously the record would only play one side (approximately 30 minutes) then you had to get out of bed because the arm would go back and you’d only hear clicking. Then somebody invented the multiple record changer where you could put 4, 5, 6 records on top of the spindle. As one record finished, you’d get another 30 minutes x 5 or 6 (depending how much in love you were. I live in a world of specifics… that’s my whole point.)
Circling around, when you listen to Chopin or Beethoven on today’s media it’s transferred digitally. Records today have been completely remastered unless you found some specialized craft house that is milling vinyl in the garage as we speak. (Just as craft beer makers in the garage. They’re not in my garage anymore though. They fucked up on the rent.) You’re going to pay large for that single record though. What you’re buying in stores today has been through the digital machines of production. Now you squeeze 1,000 songs into your toothpaste tube and take it with you to the Club Med.
For immediacy and availability, we sacrifice sonics. (Not Sonic cheeseburgers, no matter what my doctor says. Tangents… that’s why you’re still reading.) Professionals, like myself, have been talking about the fact that we’ll never really hear the original versions for decades just as many of us will never really see the Mona Lisa on the wall. We will see her on a screen and what she looks like will be based on who color tuned your screen. Who installed your screen? Was he wearing cargo shorts and a backwards baseball hat? Has he seen the original Mona Lisa? Because I haven’t… We’ve come to accept the digital reality today. When someone brings something up at the table, you don’t even put your fork down and you have all the answers. Digital availability is a great enhancement to conversation. You never have to discuss what the name of that movie was or what his name is or what painting has that smile.
“I want to see the one with the big tits.”
“Well shut up and eat your vegetables.”
“It’s called the Mona Lisa.”
That’s Thanksgiving at my house…
That same evolution is going to happen with time travel. 3D virtual reality will expand from your cell phone and goggles to your vibra-chair. Your face and the backs of your hands are so ancestrally programmed to tell you temperature change, humidity change and adrenaline presence as survival mechanisms. You can cover yourself up in the biggest North Face that you find, leaving a little pie slice of your face and the backs of your hands uncovered and as the first drops of rain hit you’ll know it instantly. Especially if you’re a mom and responsible for kids.
“Boom it’s going to rain!”
“How’d you know that? You’re completely covered up”
These changes are going to come into play for virtual reality. A little spritz here, a little temperature change there, the vibra-chair picks up and some olfactic smell-o-vision– they’ll add this all together for the complete experience.
“I have no time for veggies, Mom. I’m chasing emojis* through the tunnel.”
(As I write, he really is chasing them through a tunnel about a mile from here.) He won’t even need to leave the table once we get these goggle up to par. The kid is never going to leave his bedroom. The other worlds and spheres we interact with will be so myriad that it’ll boil down to the same sex, dungeon and war movie stuff until someone says, “It’s easier to code the time machine.” Yes, you can still have the bondage girl with the big tits but you can have her in Berlin in the 1920’s when they were better.
“Now finish your vegetables!”
“Get your mind out of your speedos. National Geographic in the 1930’s when it was all really new.”
Everywhere you went then was new. Today, there is a Club Med with a special room for infants where you get your insect repellent along with your drink beads. In the 1930’s you actually needed a pith helmet and guys with names like Buck.
If you pick a time period it will create a million jobs just like a Grand Theft Auto. The credits for Grand Theft Auto are as long as the actual game. It might take you four months to actually play out the entire Grand Theft Auto but it takes you five months to read the credits. Our version of the time machine will be an interactive virtual reality. No, you are not going to be able to change history. No, you will not actually interact as a specific historical figure in the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Everything, as time develops, will become so exacting and perfect the way computer graphics are now.
Do you recollect in creative writing when the teacher said write about anything and nothing came to mind for an entire semester? If they were very specific and said write about tractors or even more specific and said write about tractors in 1952 in upstate Indian, it was easy.
“Do they have a bondage dungeon?”
“Stop.. did you finish your vegetables?”
“Indians go the biggest tits in the business kid, get in the machine.”
Soon, you’ll be able to visit the Old West for research. Think of all the time machine movies. You wanna go fence with swords? Or you wanna do cavalry rides? Or be at the Battle of Thermopylae? Those are just my initial thoughts but you would actually go and live somewhere as an artist, a poet, a movie star or royalty. I was fortunate enough to go an live in Japan for two years. (I don’t actually live anywhere but if you see the dog more often than not, that’s where you send the mail and the bill.) You’ll be able to do that in your time machine but in different eras. This is going to reinform music, theater, television and fashion in ways that you can’t possibly predict. This is where my interest really kicks in. People are going start coming back from other countries and say, “You know if you put a little cardamom in that, it will freshen up the flavor.”
“Where you learn that?”
“On my last trip to Sicily.”
“You know if you do a little coriander…”
“Uh, did you learn that in Sicily?”
“No, no, no, she is a stripper my dad is dating. She’s gonna cook tonight.” “She is from no where near Sicily, though she is Sicilian.”
“We met her in New York on our last trip.”
There are hundreds of thousands of combinations in Tic Tac Toe with only four lines. You can have 10,000 vertical lines and you can have 10,000 horizontal lines with time travel. Imagine how many combinations that will create. You wanna go to Africa? Which time period? You’ll come back with visions of, “I heard something they were playing, I’m going to put that on my new record.” “I saw something they were eating, I am putting that in my tacos.” “You should have seen what those girls were wearing.” The international culture will look something like The Fifth Element. All different eras and all different occupations mixed them together. An African game warden will be wearing a turn of the century clown shirt and sunglasses from Mount Rainier in the ‘50s– a lot like what I do for a living. (I’d rather be an art project than simply wear one.)
Going back in time and researching somebody else’s material and returning to teach to someone in modern times will be a trespass on intellectual property because you’re not really seeing the real Mendelssohn compose. It’s damn damn close, like the MP3, but it’s not the real thing. Every sight and sound will be such a sensory experience that you can actually live there. You’ll be able to go back in time to see Duke Ellington, early Tina Turner or Count Basie perform. While the artists is still alive in modern times, they’ll be able to collect royalties on their past performances.
There are characters today that don’t even exist. Hatsune Miku is a digital avatar in Japan that doesn’t exist in reality. Fans help write her songs and they do a 3D projection of her on the stage, selling thousands of tickets. It’s easy to transport her.
“What do you mean you forgot the disc?”
“I got 10,000 people out there.”
Time travel will be talked about as a learning tool in regards to the mistakes history may have transacted. The owners of the epic-sized corporations that will manufacture and market this technology will be so politically connected and compromised that it will be hard to address sensitive issues. How do you really treat these events without ruining half of your business demographic? Delicately. In the best of all worlds, you would be able to visit historical events as if you were experiencing them. Just as for many decades, you had to be lucky enough to be seen by a record company then mentored along into your first studio experiences. (Mentored- you were given an 18% loan otherwise you never saw the inside of a AAA studio.) Today, the studio is inside your wrist watch where you plug in your headsets. You have a mega studio in your personal computer now. Virtual reality will be a billion dollar venture. Those corporations will be like the super PACs that elect the President. They are multi-billion dollar efforts that require governmental activity just to exist– electricity, space, altering our perception of history. It’s all shaded and abridged according to the political agenda…