The Apology Line was/is an art project created in 1980 by an Alan Bridge, otherwise known as Mr. A. The idea of the project was to give people a non-religious outlet to express feelings of guilt and remorse. The line recieved hundreds of calls daily from 1980 up through the mid-90s.
I recorded these mp3s from a tape that The Apology Line created and circulated titled The Apology Line: Uncut Gems From Year Zero (1980-1981) which I bought at the WFMU record fair in 2004. I didn’t bother breaking up the individual confessions into separate mp3s, and decided that it was just easier to offer each 22 minute side of the tape as its own track.
Please bear in mind that many of these confessions are very upsetting, and some of the callers seem to be genuinely disturbed individuals. There is a caller on side B who is especially creepy, who sounds like a psychopathic murderous rapist version of Woody Allen, and there is another caller at the beginning of side A who admits to brutally attacking homosexuals. This is not easy listening. However, there are some lighter moments here and there, and other bits that are just straight-up bizarre. The tape is an amazing document, and an often fascinating peek into the minds of total strangers. It’s also an incredible time capsule of NYC during one of its greatest lows.
Those of you interested in the Apology Line should check out This American Life’s segment about the line in their January 3st, 1997 episode titled “Justice”. If you listen, you will find out the shocking fate of Mr. A, and get to hear several apologies not found on the tape.
I say “This Must Be The Place (Stop Making Sense version)” and “Born Under Punches”.
I’m losing my edge.