Audio visual

Eye contact

The better to see and hear you with, my dear…

A couple weeks ago, we got TV. That is, we got reception via a satellite dish bolted to the side of our house. We’ve had the actual TV set for years and have watched our share of VHS and DVD programs and, more recently, streamed movies from the internet gods.

But now, after a twenty-year television break (aside from vacation binges in anonymous hotel rooms and our families’ homes), the TV programs come to us. Also the commercials. Oy, the commercials. If it were not for the beautiful little DVR box that arrived with the satellite dish that allows us to record live TV and then skip over the commercials, I don’t think I could stand it.

The reason we got TV is these two gentlemen.

Sherlock and Doctor Who

Well, perhaps not the whole reason, but let’s say you live with a fourteen-year-old girl who’s CRAZY about the BBC Sherlock and Doctor Who TV shows and has been patient for years to let everyone else on the planet watch the episodes when they’re new while she waits a year for the episodes to be available on DVD.

Unless you’re a cold-hearted monster, you eventually take pity.

Cynical, skeptical, and reluctant to let the world into our living room we may be. Cold-hearted we are not.

Coincidentally, as if to balance all the shiny newness of the TV and DVR, the CD player took ill and, while we’ve shipped it off for repair, we’ve returned to listening to albums (yes, vinyl record albums) on the turntable.

We’ve started browsing used record stores again, after all these years (and kicking ourselves for the hundreds of albums we sold before we moved here, unwilling to pack and move them all another time). M and I gave each other used records for Hanukkah.

Nick Drake, The Guess Who, Warren Zevon, Jethro Tull, Neil Young, Nick Lowe, Schubert, Monteverdi, Callas. Old favorites and new-to-us albums.

No matter how many years it’s been, it turns out you never forget how to slide that album out of the liner, balancing it on your hand with one finger on the paper label and your thumb steadying the edge of the disc; gently placing the tone arm down just before the first song; reading the liner notes, in print so generously sized you don’t have to reach for the reading glasses.

It’s been like turning back a clock.

In the living room, after homework is done, the TV comes on. We’re sort of surprised that it’s not always playing actual TV programs these days. She mostly returns to her favorite DVDs, though it’s nice to have the option when the new episodes and specials are broadcasted.

And in the other room, the ell, M and I are on the sofa, the lights low, the fire ticking along in the wood stove, taking turns flipping the records over (do you remember how quickly an album side is over? how did anyone get anything done?).

It’s a mixed media world, and I’m all for it.