8/12/2006

Fun with Carry-On Luggage

I've reached the stage where I can't tell any more people that I am "about to leave for Antarctica." Even in the very unlikely event that I have never said this to the same person twice it has become such a mantra that every time it comes out of my mouth I expect the response to be "just shut up and go, already." We are, finally, expected to depart on Wednesday, but a few days ago a couple of dozen demented young fanatics, members of a "faith based initiative," as someone wittily pointed out, were busted with their shampoo bottles full of nitroglycerine or peroxide bomb-making supplies or some other recipe for destruction and suddenly Evian, visine and ipods are contraband items. I don't imagine our flights to Christchurch, New Zealand are at risk of cancellation, but as a sound recordist these latest terrorist attemps at murder-by-mouthwash are going to alter my travelling life.

As a documentarian it used to be a point of pride to carry on to the plane everything necessary for successful filming. In case the dozens of other cases of production gear were misplaced in transit the team would still be able to function, at least for a short time. The cameraperson always had a camera, a battery, and a couple of tapes (or in the distant, lamented, days of film a mag or two of 16MM) "on board," and I always carried the heart and soul of the sound package with me: microphones, wireless, a mixer, a boom pole. Most of these devices are very interesting to the charming, cautious, courteous professionals working behind the x-ray machines to keep you safe in the air. The wireless systems are exciting; sprouting antennae, with tiny green LED screens, and flashing red lights, they appear to be identical in most respects to the cliche detonators seen in every film from James Bond on--the only thing they lack is a brightly lit numerical clock counting down the hundredths of a second the world, or the building, or the beautiful actress has left before the blast. The microphones, bits of brushed gray metal tubing nestled in blue velvet boxes, screw together like Hollywood gun silencers. I'm thinking all this stuff is going to have to go as checked luggage, but thanks to the Warsaw convention my fifteen thousand dollars worth of gear is only priced at about ten bucks a pound when some airline inevitably loses it.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

yo rich! was^? dis be ur hip ny neice commentin' on yo blog! sounds like fun indead....
but don't forget...although ur sound equiptment may be indangered, i highly doubt that some wako's gonna blow up a plane on it's way to new zealand! so ur safe and sound. As mom (that is, katy) was saying the other day, sounds like antarctica is safer than nj.
Glad ur gonna be safe..
love u,
soph
p.s. can't wait 2 see u on mon. er... tomorrow. r u spendin thenight
xoxo

jaks7 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jaks7 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jaks7 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I don't quite catch the vibe of this blog, but let us hope for the best. That three quarters of the comments thus far offered have been deleted doesn't stimulate what you would call enthusiastic participation, but I'll give it a shot.

They say it's a cold world said...

Just to reassure passers-by, I'm only deleting comments which are obvious spam and have nothing to do with what I've written.