Burning at Liberty House

Today, if you lived or worked near Birmingham you saw the smoke clouds. There was a fire. It was a loft in downtown

Photo by @gtice4
Photo by @gtice4

Birmingham called Liberty House. Fortunately, no one was hurt but there was a close call. It looked like the fire was on the roof. On the deck, if I had to guess. A deck I used to haul kegs of beer up to. A deck I had some good times in the early part of this century on.

You can read about the fire and the causes and the important stuff on Birmingham’s Digtial Hub for Information and Photo Galleries. As I looked at my friend Greg’s tweets of the fire, I thought about Radiohead.

When my friend lived there, he was one of the first people I knew who had a CD burner. I remember playing Dreamcast in his apartment as he burned a copy of OK Computer behind us. It was a 1X speed burner, so you’re talking a good 40 minutes of time to create an exact copy of a CD. But it was worth it. So worth it. This wasn’t a filthy tape that you only could play in your car. This was an exact replica of an album! Until I bought the vinyl of OK Computer last year, I had never actually owned a copy. I got a burned CD from Liberty House lofts. I ripped that into Real Jukebox. I imported the .mp3s from Real Jukebox when it died into iTunes. Those same files sit on this hard drive now. Can you feel nostalgia for an .mp3? A 96k bitrate reminder of a bygone era? It was a time when that 40 minutes of real time burning, fraught with the peril of a bad disk or error in the burning process was amazing.

Now I have so many ways to access new music that I barely do it. Bands appear and disappear at alarming rate to me. Is this a product of getting old? Probably. But as I prepare to exit my 30’s I’m beginning to realize that the last 10 years or so of gorging on music has made me not care as much about music as I used to. It’s made me force myself to grab an album tight and not let go until I’ve wrung something personal and interesting out of it. It’s made me want to slow down.

40 minutes for 40 minutes of music. Then that CD sits in my car stereo for months, eventually replaced with a collection of Pixies b-sides. When I hear Paranoid Android kick in, I can’t help but smile because I’ve heard it so, so many times. We added Talk Show Host to the end of it so that song will be forever part of OK Computer to me. As soon as Fitter Happier starts I hit the skip button. This stuff is burned into me. No errors.

It’s a terrible thing, but when I heard Liberty House was on fire, this is what I thought of. Glad everyone is alright and I can write about dumb stuff.

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