Friday, December 14, 2018

Avon Presents: Santa's Magic Mirror (1982)

I was going to try the pun "Avon trolling...."  "Trolling", as in, celebrating in song.  You know--"Troll the ancient Yuletide carol..."  Deck the Hall.  The carol.  Um....  Yeah.

A play on "Avon calling."  Doesn't work at all.  Forget I mentioned it.

And I almost forgot I had this--just spotted it on a bedroom bookshelf tonight.  I didn't know whether or not it was worth the rip, but it turns out to be quite a fun record--and more than a little bit in a Line Material mode.  This two-sided, approximately eight-inch Eva-Tone disc explains something I've always wanted to understand--just how does Santa manage to get toys to all the children in the world?  After all, there's only one of him.  Ahhhh, but is there?  Only one of him, I mean?  Listen and find out.

Eva-Tone discs are flexi discs--very thin vinyl, and subject to slipping, though a little Scotch tape and a ten-inch disc I no longer wanted (too trashed) acting as the base kept this in place.  Often, these things refuse to lay flat, but this only has a few bumps (caused by slight bends), so it was mostly a cinch to rip.  Luckily, whoever owned this kept it in the pocket provided in the booklet--hence, its excellent condition.  The magic mirror on the cover, however, is pretty scratched up, so I photo-edited it.  It's actually silver, but after I fixed it up, it looks like a blob of black.  It works as a mirror, with only slight distortion in the image.  In case you wanted to know.

To the Avon Christmas story....

Click here to hear: Avon Presents: Santa's Magic Mirror (1982)

Created By MacDonald Creative Marketing, made by Eva-Tone, 1982



Ernie said...

Cool, never seen this. I've got a couple other Avon records, but not this one. Thanks!

Buster said...

Those Eva-Tones, despite your serene self-assurance, are a bear to transfer. At least in my fumbling experience.

barba said...

thanks for all the christmas and other year-round music. i know i don’t comment here very much, but you seem to have lots of other feedback so mine wouldn’t make much difference. i especially like your explanations on the problems of audio reproduction, and the various solutions you come up with for things recorded at odd speeds and on obsolete or non-standard surfaces. you could tame a bowl of rice krispies and do it either with special machines and software, or a piece of cardboard and some scotch tape. i admire this is a person. i bought an amazon echo two weeks ago and while it’s supposed to be my personal assistant, instead i spend all my free time serving it, pleading with it to do really anything at all. for the first week, every time i said, “alexa, what time is it?”, it replied “who wants to know?”. i’m just not very good with technology. forget music. i thought i was going to access all my christmas downloads vocally. but if i say, “alexa, play nuttin for christmas by bob stain in my music”, i get a sales pitch for one of amazon’s pay services. “hmmm, i can’t find that right now. but if you subscribe to amazon prime [or audible or music unlimited], i’ll try harder and maybe then i’ll play it for you. and for a limited time, i can give you a free 30-day trial, at the end of which i’ll just automatically charge your credit card $9.99 each month. ok?” or it’ll find a movie called ‘nuttin for christmas’ and want to sell that to me, or read me a passage from a book on stains and try to sell me the rest of it. i’m not sure i was cut out for this century.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Happy to hear you enjoy my restoration narratives--I sometimes wonder if I'm boring people to death. I've always felt that describing the restoration challenges gives that much more insight into the artifacts themselves, and it's the artifacts we're honoring here. What's on them, how it got there, how to get it out (!), and so on. Thanks for the nice words in that regard. My skills are a result of a great deal of trial and error, plus lucky tips from others. You might know that there are some incredibly advanced sound restoration efforts happening currently--all way past my skill range. There were sound-recording technologies that preceded cylinder and disc recordings--sound information documented as visual images. We're talking back to the 1500s, even. Scanning technology has enabled technicians to reproduce compositions and other sounds (a tuning fork, in one instance), the main requirement being to understand the system used to document the sound. The most famous example is the 1860 "Au clair de lune." It lasts for about 20 seconds. In every case, it's sound information the was recorded but with no means of playback.

I had no idea Alexa was that big of a pain. It must assume ahead of time what selections you're going to be requesting, and blog Christmas shares aren't likely to be in that preset list, so Alexa says, "Oh, you mean Ginsu Knives!" It's like voice recognition programs that can't take in a word you're saying, then. And of COURSE things default to ads. And to upgrade offers. It's the standard scam--whatever technology we have isn't enough. Corporate greed is a parasite that wasted no time in compromising the effectiveness of PCs and PC-style devices. Then came the media invasion of the internet. The media had no use for the internet until it figured out it could monetize it. Now the place is festooned with ads.

The Alexa issue is bizarre, and I can only conclude it's been designed to anticipate what you're going to ask for based on surveys. It's Amazon telling you what YOU want to hear. Meaning what it wants you to hear. Choice is not something Amazon understands. It's not part of its business model. I don't know much about Alexa (a 92-year old church member mentions it constantly, and at first i had no idea what he meant by the phrase "telling Alexa"), but it ought to be able to locate tracks you have on file. I assume it contains the actual tracks, so if it can't access them, it's because Amazon is playing games, as you point out. Good grief. No wonder the music industry dislikes us bloggers. We're all about giving people choice. They're all about "Buy our stuff."

Kwork said...

Thank you Lee. Definitely interested.