Joe Pagano spends his day extracting relics from dark bands of magnetic oxide. Twist a few knobs and, voila! The Grateful Dead turning on in the studio, the Beach Boys yucking it up at home, Deep Purple plugging in and blasting heaviosity.

Too many times the job turns out to be watching Uncle Albert playing Fiddler on the Roof again.

Pagano owns the Obsolete Tape Transfer Service, a name that would seem at home in a Stephen Millhauser novel. The Northeast Philly man is an archivist who specializes in more than two dozen extinct media: Sony Betamax and EIAJ. Sanyo V-Cord. Akai quarter-inch. Quasar. IVC.

Today's metro column requires this old man.