|A "bone music" record|
Vinyl bootlegs of popular artists did occasionally make it into the Soviet Bloc in those days, but vinyl was a scarce commodity so that there was no way to make vinyl copy of it. That's until someone got the bright idea of using another piece of plastic that was plentiful at the time - exposed X-rays.
They would look through hospital waste bins for discarded X-rays, cut a copy of the album with a standard disc cutter, then use a cigarette to burn a hole in the middle so it could be played on a standard turntable. These "records" only played on one side and the fidelity was low, but they were cheap and easy to get, and gave a big boost to Western music in a land where it had no traditional exposure.
Soon a whole network of bone music distributors sprang up, but not long after the police caught on and formed a group of anti-Western music patrols to break up the distribution rings and confiscate any X-rays found.
Ironically, it wasn't that long after that the West created its own version of the X-ray disc with its own "Flexi-disc," a very thin piece of plastic which sounded equally as bad, but was cheap and easy to distribute in books and magazines.
This is just a great example of people that are deprived of something they desperately want being resourceful enough to overcome any barriers in the way. You can read more about this topic in an excellent article by John Brownlee on fastcodesign.com.
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