Compact discs

A large skull partly made of recycled CDs on display in front of Albert Hall, UP Diliman, Quezon City
A skull of CDs in front of the Archaeological Studies Program building (Albert Hall) in UP Diliman. Probably created for the 2014 UP Lantern Parade.

Some time ago, Sandwich shared an article entitled “When CDs Were Precious Objects” on their Facebook page with the caption “A younger generation’s Betamax.” It made me wax nostalgic about my own relationship with these shiny, delicate discs.

About a decade ago when I was a high school freshman, a band called Hale was terribly popular and one of my classmates received a copy of their debut album as a birthday gift. I liked “The Day You Said Goodnight” so I was curious about the entire album—and when I learned that my classmate already had a copy of the CD, I bugged him all day to donate the extra one to me, which he did.

Why didn’t you just download the music, kids these days might ask. Because 56-kbps dial-up was all I had then for an Internet connection, and downloading an entire album’s worth of high-quality audio was an all-week, all-night affair. (And it cost 100 pesos per 20 hours.) Besides, Hale’s album is a beautiful artifact. Its album sleeve is a work of art—full of sepia photography alternating with lyrics written in fine calligraphy on translucent paper. A few months later at a gig in Siena College, I was able to get that album signed by Hale themselves, and they wrote the email address for their Yahoo! Groups site on the cover.

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