Bet there's some drunk dialling in there.
May 22, 2007 8:40 PM   Subscribe

No denying it now... So this guy bought an answering machine in 1985. And kept all the tapes. Now they're a documentary. (clip 1,clip 2, via & interview)
posted by imperium (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I still have my tapes, and I would not hesitate to publish them if I am crossed. Hear me mr. rain dance man.....
posted by caddis at 8:48 PM on May 22, 2007

I think this is one of those ideas that sounds great in principle but is somehow boring/disappointing in action unless you were a participant or have/had some sort of connection.
posted by peacay at 8:55 PM on May 22, 2007

I think it's an interesting concept, but I'd have to see the whole thing to make a final judgement.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:06 PM on May 22, 2007

I did this too, but nobody called.
posted by pompomtom at 9:13 PM on May 22, 2007

It would have been much better if he dubbed the audio from the messages over video footage taken of what he was doing at the time the messages were being recorded.

Not enough foresight, I tell ya.
posted by pmbuko at 9:16 PM on May 22, 2007

posted by taosbat at 9:42 PM on May 22, 2007

posted by taosbat at 9:42 PM on May 22, 2007

My favorite answering machine tape dated from around 1994, I'd guess. I had a pet parrot at the time, an African Gray with great mimicking skills.

I was off to Tahoe and a friend was petsitting. His girlfriend of the time phoned him up at my place, but he couldn't figure out how to shut off the answering machine when he was trying to pick up the call.

I arrived home to a wonderful tape of my parrot saying to my friend: "You're a dork!" "Dork!" "What a dork!" ... complete with parrot-voice imitations of the phone ringing, the answering machine's beeps, and my friend's oaths as he desperately tried to switch off the machine.

I kept that tape for years, but have unfortunately since lost it.
posted by trip and a half at 10:33 PM on May 22, 2007

Hey, what's with this 18 minute gap?
posted by kaibutsu at 12:19 AM on May 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

There was a bloke round my parts... can't find him now.. Greensboro/Triad in North Carolina.... He went round all the Goodwill stores and bought all the answering machines they had on sale.
On most of these machines were still some messages from people.

The gentleman in question then recorded an album playing back some of these messages and accompanying them with some music.
I remember reading a review about it in one of the free newspapers and they said it was quite haunting...

- A shiny new shilling to anyone who finds the aforementioned.
posted by Webbster at 12:47 AM on May 23, 2007

I see he uses Ken Morse as his rostrum cameraman. You can't go wrong with Ken Morse. Can there be another rostrum cameraman in the UK, I wonder?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:42 AM on May 23, 2007

"This American Life", your story is waiting.
posted by mattholomew at 5:48 AM on May 23, 2007

This American Life already did one of these. It was the first one of that show I ever heard.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:57 AM on May 23, 2007

I had a friend in college who bought an old answering machine at a garage sale and kept the greeting that the original owners had recorded. I mean, how many people have a friendly older couple ending their message with "..and God bless you, real good?"
posted by mikeh at 6:35 AM on May 23, 2007

Cool post. I went in ready to be under-whelmed, but I actually found it quite interesting. Its sort of fun to infer the whole story from just a snippet.

There was a bloke round my parts... can't find him now..

Was it this guy?
posted by BostonJake at 7:28 AM on May 23, 2007

There was a bloke round my parts... can't find him now..

Perhaps it was Damien Jurado who made a record for Sub Pop like 6-7 years ago called Postcards and Audio Letters; it was a collection of soundscapes pulled from thrifted tapes.
posted by verysleeping at 8:51 AM on May 23, 2007

Was it this guy?

By jove I think he's got it !
posted by Webbster at 10:50 AM on May 23, 2007

Perhaps it was Damien Jurado...

Oh it could have been him as well. I see that this idea is not unique.

Cheers for the links chaps.
posted by Webbster at 10:54 AM on May 23, 2007

I was out one night, and got a series of phone calls to what was obviously the wrong number, charting a blind date as it was happening. This was pre-cell phone commonality, so someone was running to the bathroom every 20 minutes or so to report on this date. A date, mind you, that was obviously going amusingly downhill.

My friends and I laughed for hours, played it over and over. Still use one of the best lines from the whole thing:

"Charice, you know that boy ain't right. He drools!"

For years, whenever one of us would bring around a consort that the rest of the crowd considered "catch and release", "He drools" is how he'd be described.
posted by dejah420 at 1:09 PM on May 23, 2007

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