Last night’s taxi driver takes an interest in my ‘pod and we end up nudging up to one another on his front seat, each taking one ear bud. He’s in his 50’s, a long graying beard and full length galabeyah so it’s not as romantic as you might think. His enjoyment of teenage riot is probably tempered by the fact that Cairo’s roads are a constant cacophony of noise, but starts to wiggle his butt and wave his cigarette in appreciation of Panjabi MC/Ghalla Gurian. Strangers linked by sound, a cable and the cost of a fare.
Does the share-music-with-strangers scene like this be more or less likely with ubiquitous wireless music players and earphones? The more techno-utopian amongst you might assume that the wireless equivalent would involve me simply beaming my music to his phones, or car radio. But the reality is that there’s money to be made from incompatibles standards, and ultimately I doubt my stuff would play on his ‘phones. And what of would-be-lovers (but not us, here in this cab, now) using the minimal length of the cable as an excuse to enter and then remain in each others personal space? Is sharing music in this context about the sharing, or about the music?