Skeleton Satire

As well as facing punishment if caught, those making X-Ray recordings were satirised by state organs. They were referred to as "pisaki” (literally “writers” or 'recorders" but a pejorative term).  The illustration below is from the book "Bull by the Horns" (1962) by the official poet Yurii Blagoff. It contains verses ridiculing such pisaki, saying something like:

"Musical assholes

Selling x-ray vinyls

For the stomach, samba

And for between the ribs, mamba"

('Ribs' is an alternative to the slang name of 'Bones' for the x-ray records). There are stories of recordings being made which contained voices (possibly official) mocking the listener after a few bars of the forbidden music they had been anticipating.

The X-Ray recordings perhaps had a status something like that enjoyed by illegal drugs today - looked down on as being low culture but secretly enjoyed by a bohemian class. They were traded in a similar way to drugs - by dealers who would lurk in public squares or via private contacts for those in the know.  

Whilst being caught in possession would result in confiscation and punishment such as expulsion from the party, being caught manufacturing or selling could result in years in prison.

Courtesy Sergey Stavitskiy 

Courtesy Sergey Stavitskiy