Monday, June 4, 2007

BACKSPACE: old word, new meaning?

I was just reading a good article about composer/musician David Axelrod in the usually pretty worthless "magazine" West that comes with the Sunday Los Angeles Times when I noticed author Lynell George's unusual use of the word "backspace." Twice.

"David Axelrod grew up in the Los Angeles of the '30s and '40s, when jazz was the popular music–on the radio, in the clubs, in the backspace of daily life."


"Axelrod's imprint... was an essential part of the backspace of the day, after-the-fireworks music or a dimmer-switch for a quiet Thursday night."

I had never heard or read "backspace" used in such a way, and I assumed she meant it as a more three-dimensional variation of "background" that takes more of the general ambiance into account. Then I looked it up, and found nothing on "backspace" outside of its use on a keyboard or videocamera.

So did she decide to repurpose a familiar word, or are my research skills not sharp enough to check exhaustively in four minutes? Is she hoping her use of "backspace" will catch on? Is this something her editors should have caught? Will I start using "backspace" that way and pretend everyone else should know what I'm talking about? Or, is "backspace" so close to "background" that few if any will notice at all?

Has he ever been Experienced? He has.

Also–How cool is David Axelrod? Aside from his enormous and continuing contributions to music, he voiced an opinion that I wholeheartedly agree with:

"I always thought the ideal record store would have the whole thing alphabetical instead of broken down into what kind of music it is. Why is that necessary? Will you tell me?"

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