After the apocalypse, I’ll still be able to rock

A few days after the apocalypse, your iPod will find its last utility as a projectile, ineffectually fending off the feral dogs for about 25 seconds–and that’s if you haven’t opted for the Shuffle or something similar lacking heft.

I’ve got a problem when it comes to music; it’s not an exaggeration to  compare it to an addiction. During our first quarter, it’s been pretty impossible to spare any time for even online music shopping, so lately I’ve been jonesin‘ to fill my (turntable) needle.

Like any addict, there’s a massive amount of rationalization I’ve cocooned myself with, and I wanted to share a video that touches upon one of my more elaborate defenses.

You see, I was a reluctant recruit to the whole CD craze. Compact discs reduced the ceremonial and physical aspects of enjoying music. Plus, they’re a corporate racket to get us all to buy music more than once. Now, in retrospect, I feel justified in sticking with good old 7-inch, 10-inch and 12 inch plastic discs. Compact discs are nearly worthless, and everyone is buying their music all over again in a digital file format.

More to the point, you won’t be able to listen to any of these ephemeral e-versions when the zombies come (see Shaun of the Dead for another key advantage of vinyl)

The vinyl addict’s  defense mechanism–that may yet prove my foresight–went something like this:

Like any true member of Generation X, I have practically zero hope for humanity. Before, we thought it would be nuclear terror (though that’s making a comeback); now we’re convinced limited environmental carrying capacity, mass epidemics, or zombies will eventually devolve humanity into some state-of-nature deserving the name “Mad Max times.” We expect the rule of law and most technology to break down, and this would put every iPod and CD player out of business.

Us vinyl junkies will still be rockin’, though. Records are a physical medium. Unless the plastic itself degrades (and I won’t live long enough to see that), the music remains encoded in the very shape of the record’s groove. No laser or hard drive needed to hear it. To jam on, all you need is a needle that drags across the surface of the vinyl, hooked up to an amplifier which can be as simple as a cone of paper.

The last piece you need is a means of rotating the turntable platter at something approaching a constant 33 and 1/3 revolutions per minute. A pedal powered turntable would be easy enough to rig from the detritus of civilization, but now we have a garage-tech means to take the work out of it: steam power!


built by Simon Jensen of New Zealand.


Here’s a quick apocalypse-themed vinyl shopping list (counting down, of course):

7. REM – “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” – Naturally. Might as well have a happy sounding song during the collapse.
6. Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five – “World War III” – It’s atomic, catastrophic….your darkest fears of reality are knockin’ down your door….mutant dog and sabertoothed rats…
5. Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Cities in Dust” – Yeah, I know it’s about Pompeii & Herculaneum.
4. Time Zone (featuring John Lydon, Afrika Bambaataa, & Bill Laswell) – “World Destruction” – Yes, the world is headed for destruction. Is it a nuclear war? What are you asking for?
3. Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Research Arkestra – “It’s after the end of the world” – Don’t you know that yet?
2. The Postal Service – “We Will Become Silhouettes” – The air outside will make our cells divide at an alarming rate, until our shells simply cannot hold all our insides in.
1. Sex Pistols – “God Save the Queen” – We’re the flowers in the dustbin….There’s no future, no future, no future for you.

And now you are set to develop some self-defense skills for that day:

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About Keith R

Science communication student Santa Cruz Sentinel intern
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