Once in a while I poke around this website, following the related content links to stuff from a decade ago, or from last week. Technically this site has elements of the wasteland that becomes any site after 25+ years. Broken images I hotlinked from old photo gallery installs I had to remove, dead links to content that is no more, etc. It’s a personal website, not a business, so it’s not an urgent concern, but I do wish there was some magic wand I could wave to fix all that crap.
I’ve been pretty stoked about Payphone Radio, after finally amping up the playlist with what is, as far as I can tell, every call I made between 2011 and 2020 that is usable. That’s over 1600 calls and about 63 hours of content. I have no idea how many calls I threw out.
In revisiting that project I discovered that a cadre of interested listeners has been tuning in, even recording and archiving the streams for hours at a stretch. I chose Shoutcast not because I expected it to prevent anyone from downloading or keeping it, but because of the randomness in not knowing what you will hear when you tune in. That’s a part of the magic of radio, even if the content itself is prerecorded and you tune in to the same stations every day it is always a tantalizing mystery what awaits you.
What became Payphone Radio was originally called the Voicemail Project. I intended to use any and all kind of phones to record content there. I quickly changed my mind about that, settling on the more evocative and random soundworld of the payphone. I felt a certain charge in doing something that, as far as I know, had never been done before, certainly not on the scale at which I executed it.
Until recently I kept the calls semi-private. They were on my websites but at URLs you had to know and that you could find without aid of a search engine. I made the sites invisible to commercial search engines, at least I tried. They tried anyway to gobble up my content anyway no matter how explicitly I instructed their bots to go away, there was nothing here for them.
I did this on account of the sometimes personal nature of the calls. I can be a pretty depressing dude, and after making the calls public I heard from at least two individuals who said they found my comments “concerning” and that they felt like voyeurs for tuning in.
I would not have made that kind of stuff public if I was not certain I had moved on from the bad times, the thoughts of self-harm, and other thorny brambles of emotional experience that plagued me for some years.
On listening back to this stuff I’m sometimes surprised at how much I leave out. But it’s not a longform format, and I’ve learned not to invoke references to anyone in my life who might not want to be identified or connected to me, nor I to them. I left out a lot of the brief dalliances with women, especially during 2018 and 2019, when I was screwing around like the playboy I never knew myself to be or even imagined myself capable. That all stopped with the pandemic.