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99% Invisible-43- The Accidental Music of Imperfect Escalators

Roman Mars on December 19, 2011 06:26

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    “There's a secret jazz seeping from Washington's aging Metro escalators - those anemic metal walkways that fill our transit system…they honk and bleat and squawk…why are you still wearing those earbuds?”

    -Chris Richards, “Move along with the soundtrack of Metro's screechy, wailing escalators” Washington Post

    Ever since the industrial revolution, when it became possible for products to be designed just once and then mass produced, it has been the slight imperfections and wear introduced by human use that has transformed a quality mass produced product into a thing we love. Your worn blue jeans, your grandmothers iron skillet, the initial design determined their quality, but it’s their imperfections that make them comfortable, that make them lovable, that make them yours.

    And if you think that a “slightly broken” escalator can’t be lovable, then our own Sam Greenspan would like to introduce you to Chris Richards.

    Chris Richards is a music critic for the Washington Post, and after years of ignoring the wailing and screeching of the much maligned, often broken escalators in the DC Metro, he began to hear them in a new way. He began to hear them as music.


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