By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment
18/6- After the horrifying displays I was forced to endure during the IIC military presser, I was barely able to scramble across the expo center and find a seat for the Pertifour conference. Pertifour always comes up with new and interesting things, so I was excited.
The reality of what he brought has stirred in me mixed feelings, however. After an extended introduction that would have seemed more at home before a Rinkenbach presser, Michel Pertifour appeared on stage with nothing but a small satchel draped over his shoulder.
“Have you ever walked down a crowded street, with nothing but the inane conversation of your fellow pedestrians and the droning buzz of the city filling your skull?” He asked. “Have you ever wished you could drown it out with the sweet sounds of Alicia Sols soprano voice or stirring overtures of Bethelvart? Well, now you can!”
Pertifour opened the satchel to reveal a small wooden box with a wax disk held in place by a pin. A small needle was positioned over the disk.
“Introducing the world’s first portable gramophone!” he announced. “With his device, you can listen to the greatest oratorios, concertos, and waltzes of our time!”
He reached into the satchel and pulled out a pair of ear horns and three more disks.
“The music can be listened to through these horns, without disturbing those around you. These discs, a new design intended to make better use of space than cylinders, each hold up to fifteen minutes of audio. That’s the entirety of Johann Martz’s opening movement of his fifth symphony, right in your pocket!”
The device was powered by a spring mechanism, which Pertifour winded up. Even though I was in the back row and still had ringing in my ears from the military presser, I could hear the music coming from the horns, which seems to undercut his claim that you could listen without disturbing. It also seems to me that something so loud would cause permanent damage.
Someone in the front row asked if you could adjust the volume.
“No!” Pertifour said, proudly. “And why would you want to?”
He then announced that the portable gramophone will be available next month, with a library of twenty disks, with content ranging from music, to audio plays, to academic dissertations. Be prepared to shell out over one hundred imperions for the device and a disk.