I’ve just read an article on the BBC website (in their Magazine section) by 13-year-old Scott Campbell, which is an account of the week he spent using a cumbersome Sony Walkman instead of his state-of-the-art iPod. To be honest, it’s a bit like getting someone to swap their Bugatti Veyron for a Triumph TR7, then asking them to compare the two in terms of acceleration, top speed, in-car technology, aesthetics and luxuriousness. It all seems a bit pointless.
Alternatively, I suppose the BBC could’ve offered Scott a huge slab of chocolate fudge cake to tuck into, before strapping him to a chair and instructing a dominatrix to twist her lethal stiletto heel into his testicles. Providing he could type through the searing abdominal pain, he could then let us know which experience he preferred. Tasty cake? Or bollock-mangling abuse? Who knows, maybe he’d surprise us?
I was five years old when the first Walkman was released, although I owned several Walkmans over the years. In fact, I was still listening to cassette tapes on my Walkman in 1998 (long after everyone had moved on). But I’m not actually here to defend the Walkman. I’m here to express mild panic that I’m getting old! Eloquent and intelligent representatives from Generation Z are critiquing technology that I grew up with! What the hell is going on?
To be fair to Scott, his article is very good and it’s interesting to read his observations. Although, his references to the Walkman as “basic equipment” and “[antique] technology from the past” sent shivers down my spine. Compared to the iPod, the original Walkman is undoubtedly basic. However, when I think of “technology from the past” I think of Johannes Gutenberg’s 15th Century printing press, not something I was using and happily listening to during my formative years.
Scott also says: “I’m relieved that the majority of technological advancement happened before I was born,” as if time will now stand still for him. I sort of hope that in 30 years time, when the pleasures and emotions that music arouse are delivered directly to the brain to bypass the act of actually listening to music, that his kids scoff at the primitive way he got his kicks. “You actually spent 3-4 minutes listening to music tracks on that iPod thing? And you compiled playlists for yourself, entitled: ‘Depressed’, ‘Gym’, ‘Sexy’ and ‘Heavy hardcore house acid jam funk garage’? Ha! You old saddo, dad!”
Maybe then, Scott, you’ll start feeling as old as I’m starting to feel.