by Steve Haruch
We take portable music for granted today, obviously, but before the iPod, before Walkmans, before (gasp!) the Internet, your only choice for tuneage on the go was a boombox. And a lot of C- or D-cell batteries. Some of you are probably too young to remember the oddly subversive-feeling thrill of blaring your music out of a boombox, hoisting it on your shoulder or putting it on the ground while you got to breakdancing/skateboarding/vandalizing. Today, Scene contributor Chris Neal pointed me to this awesome repository of boombox photos and knowledge, and wow.
Yeah, the iPod is incredibly useful and orders of magnitude more practical than a boombox, but still. You can't front on the style of those early blasters. I mean, look at this thing! And this one has a fucking record player in it! No earbuds required!
Uh, anyway, forgive my nostalgia attack here. I remember my neighbor had a model pretty close to the JVC in the picture above. He would walk up and down his driveway holding it in the crook of his arm, with the speakers pointed right at his face and singing as loud as he could. He'd often change the words of the songs so they were ridiculous or obscene, or both. Duran Duran's "View to a Kill," for instance, became "View to a Fuck." Mike was an interesting kid. I chose my first boombox (a Garrard, I think, or some other off-brand like Craig) because of three main features: double cassette deck, hi-speed dubbing and, purely for the aesthetic magic of it, soft eject.
But, y'know, my Nano's cool and all.