Dec 26, 2008

laser discs

when i was growing up, there was a regrettable phase during which my extended family invested heavily in karaoke, including expensive equipment designed to play laser discs, a sort of giant CD with video. we made do with VHS. (VHS! but recall that this was the late 1980s, when even CDs were new and exciting. my first CD was Doctor Who: Variations on a Theme, trance and electronica based on the music of the television show. even for me that was a frighteningly nerdy purchase.)

for anywhere between $30 and $100, you could purchase an LD featuring an assortment of music set to lingering scenes of scantily-clad women, assorted decolletage, and long, slow, shots of tourist scenery completely unconnected to the lyrics on screen (the locations would be international for the pricey LDs, local for the cheap ones). this is an exemplar of the form:


karaoke lounges, of which there were no shortage, would have rooms full of filing cabinets stuffed with these giant discs and copious supplies of slinky women of negotiable affection as well as hard liquor of questionable quality and exorbitant price. if you called it XO and put it in a hennessy bottle, someone would throw down a couple hundred dollars for a personal bottle to be stored in a glass-fronted cabinet just inside the doorway with his name (women never, ever did this) prominently displayed, for the benefit of patrons wondering casually who the real premium folk are. in every one of these bars i went to, the case was arranged not alphabetically but in order of bottle price. at the top of the case would be the decanters full of hennessy extra-special VSOP (running well north of $1000, given the lounge mark-up), their cut-glass facets glinting in the spotlight trained upon them for that very purpose.

ah, nostalgia.

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