988 – outboard

Bit of a day off from the creative crunching from me. No stamina, you see.

Instead I’ve been digging through the vast mess of our loft, doing yet another push towards readiness for the builders. That’s not until next year, but…well…you haven’t seen the loft.

Some slightly wistful things ended up at the tip this morning, including my very first mixing desk.


I bought it from Hammonds music shop in Watford, probably in about 1991, when I realised that I couldn’t have the Poly800, D50 *and* SY77 synths all plugged into the back of my stereo at once. It wasn’t hugely expensive, but it worked well enough for the growing collection of line-level technology. It wasn’t until a few years later – when I started working with a singer – that I realised the mic preamps were just terrible, except at picking up taxi radios. And there were no insert points to put in a compressor. But I was skint and on the dole then, having jacked in my corporate IT job to try and become a pop star, so we just had to make do. (A 24-channel desk arrived eventually, but that’s another story)

Of course these days there’s literally no need for something like this. If you’re a young person with synths, they’re mainly going to be virtual ones inside a laptop. And if you’re recording any real instruments, you’re going to need decent mic preamps.

It’s quite literally useless. I wouldn’t even wish it on my local church hall.

At the other end of the spectrum, I threw away the best part of 300 business cards, collected over the last 19 years of webbery.

It was a lovely trip down memory lane, um….chucking the details of people into the bin. Please don’t take it personally. There were a few reminders of people I really really ought to see again soon, people who were now doing amazing things in far-off places, people who’d left the industry, some who’d never really joined it, and even the occasional series of cards from people like me who’ve repeatedly reinvented themselves over the last decades. It was odd to watch their stories unfold through these little scraps of card.

Once they were the essential record of your network.

And now – like the synths – everyone does it in their laptop instead.

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