May 22, 2014

Chris Funkhouser, Nedd Ludd & Me

Chris Funkhouser at the QE2, August 1992
I read with interest this entry by Chris Funkhouser, “In audio practice VII: Albany O!” about his early years in Albany. I remember Chris as an innovative & engaging performer of poetry at Albany venues such as the QE2 & the Boulevard Bookstore. In this piece he mentions the issue of The Little Magazine put out in 1995 as a CD-ROM, & how now, in 2014, “Unfortunately, the disc does not function on today’s 64 bit Windows systems, which means [it] is unplayable as originally designed.”

I don’t often get to say “I told you so” but …

In response to the publication of the CR-ROM Little Magazine, I wrote an article, an “op-ed piece,” that was published in the Times-Union on December 30, 1995. In my article I wrote about the (early) computers/word-processors that I used at work & my home computer (an Apple II-E), & how I had a book of poetry on my shelf that was published in Albany in 1904, how easy it was to read the book, but how impossible it was for me to “read” the CD-ROM Little Magazine. I wrote:
I even have a book of poems published in 1824. I don’t need any special equipment to read it. I doubt that in 2024 anyone who still owns a copy of the CD-ROM [Little Magazine] will still be able to read or “interact” with it, given the current rate at which such formats are being replaced by “more advanced” versions.
It seems one didn’t have to wait that long for the CD-ROM to become unreadable.

To be fair, at that time only about 3% of Americans had ever used the “World Wide Web” (aka Internet), while now Internet access is ubiquitous. But also, the original T-U article on the CD-ROM quoted one of the editors of the Little Magazine as saying “the days of reading a pocket-sized volume of poetry down by the river side” are coming to an end, & that hasn’t happened either.

I had also sent this article (by real-mail) pseudonymously as “Nedd Ludd” to a variety of literary & arts publications & it was picked up by FYI, the print newsletter of the New York Foundation for the Arts.

When the Times-Union accepted my piece for publication (I used my real name because they require that & I also knew some of the staff there) they asked me for a short poem which they printed in a box with the article. This is notable because the Times-Union has a policy of not printing poems. Still yet another strike for Poetic Terrorism.

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