Friday, April 08, 2011


There's nothing like the plastic sound that my antiquated cell phone makes when I close its flap. My toddler loves to open and close it and occasionally have her finger stuck. I also love the sound my phone makes when I accidentally drop it and it splatters into three parts: the body, the battery, the battery case. Call me corporealist, but the iPhone is too ethereal. Back in 1994, Umberto Eco argued that Macintosh is Catholic while DOS is Protestant, but I suspect he has changed his mind about the analogy. The i-products are Platonic. They are everywhere and nowhere.

Michael McGettigan, owner of Trophy Bikes, has been a powerful force in Philadelphia's cycling community. He's also been a pioneer in the rediscovery of the mechanical world that once included typewriters. Last December, Michael organized the first "Philadelphia Type-In" at Bridgewater's, the pub at 30th Street Station. I cannot imagine a better acoustic space to encapsulate the mechanical past than Pennsylvania Station in Philadelphia. The even was repeated in February. Unfortunately, I've divested myself of all family typewriters. I'm possibly one of the last people of my generation to have taken a typing class in junior high-school. Watching the third episode of Mad Men, I also wish I had learned stenography, too.

The clicking and clacking of the mechanical world of literary production received a nice spread in the New York Times, and Philadelphia got the international attention usually afforded to Brookly, see Jessica Bruder, "Click, Clack, Ding! ... Sigh," NYT (Mar 30, 2011).

1 comment:

Tyko said...

Nice, Kostis: I agree with much that you say regarding the mechanical as well as the sounds of the mechanical...quite musical. But then, I was reared on dismantling/assembling old flathead Ford V-8s, a real joy.

Don't know Eco's analogy, but a lot of this brings to mind Ivan Illich's efforts to create accessible technology in Cuernavaca.

Cheers, Tyko

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Kostis Kourelis

Philadelphia, PA, United States