22 January 2008

My Roy Orbison Shame

When I was in college, before I got the tedious but interesting job doing breadboard layout and wire-wrapping at a chip design company, I had a tedious and dirty job as a dogsbody in a ceramics craft shop. This was a shop where you could buy slip-cast (low-fire) ceramic shapes, clean them up, paint and glaze them, get them fired, etc. My main job was cleaning unfired ceramic dust from surfaces. Lots of dust, lots of surfaces, shelves and shelves of easily-destroyed unfired ceramics.

The guy who owned the shop believed that in a place where people would be working, there must be music. He didn't trust people to choose their own music, of course. He had a beat-up tape player and a stack of tapes, and one of his important jobs was to change the tapes. No one else was allowed to touch his precious player or tapes.

What he played was 80% Roy Orbison and 20% miscellaneous psychedelic leftovers. Unless he was having a day of getting grief from his wife for being a bad shop manager or for wandering over to the lounge next door or for going down to the laundromat to flirt with the slut (yes, really, I knew her, she'd do anything with a knob) who ran that. Then he played all Orbison for a long as he was grounded.

This was the worst music I had ever heard up to that time. Oh great gods above and below, it was torment day after day. I could never describe to anyone how dreadful it was, because the music was so bad in so many ways. I put Roy Orbison down in my book under "To Be Avoided At All Costs".

Years later, the Traveling Wilburys appeared on the scene. Of course, I loved their music and of course, me being me, I read up on who they were and all. Well, damn--Lefty Wilbury, Roy Orbison, wow.

So then I found someone who had some Orbison albums and listened to them. Hey, that was him? Damn, wow. And what a songwriter. So did he get better or did I get smarter?

It only occurred to me a couple of years after that--that stupid tape player and the tapes were the only surfaces that didn't get dusted. They all must have been full of that stuff. It's no wonder that the music was wobbling, screeching, and gargling. ::headdesk::

So, Roy, whereve you are--I'm sorry I thought that you sucked a mighty suck. I am ashamed I blamed you instead of that idiot Odie.

No comments: