Does this mean I’m getting old?

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.Old man wireless

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.



Filed under Miscellaneous, Observations

4 responses to “Does this mean I’m getting old?

  1. Klare

    I know exactly what you mean! When I was working at Deckchair in 2000, I walked into the office with the cassette case of tapes I kept in my car. The spotty 17yr old I.T. boy we were then employing looked over and said “What are THEY?!”. I explained to him that they were my cassettes from the car and I may well have told him they were gramophone records…..or flint tools. He sneered at me and looked confused like he’d never even heard of a cassette before and then plugged his headphone back in to listen to trance music on his computer. I still had my cassettes in the car till 18mths ago and now I feel slightly bereft that I have nowhere left to play them.

    Can you imagine that 13yr old boy’s reaction if he’d have been introduced to a ZX Spectrum 48K where he’d have to load games on any old tape player you could find?! Can you imagine his derision at being told the joys people our age used to get from doing:

    5 PRINT “Hello!”
    15 RUN
    20 GOTO 5

    Much as I don’t like feeling old, I wouldn’t swap my memories of cassettes, tape recorders, walkmans and Atari’s for the world.


  2. andytoots


    Bless you for having tapes until 18 months ago. I was fairly behind the times wandering around with a cassette walkman in 1998! Still, it’s whatever makes you happy.

    I agree with you, though. As much as I wouldn’t want to be without the trappings of modern technology (my iPhone, iPod, laptop etc), I wouldn’t swap the memories and original experience of ‘primitive’ things like Ataris, ZX Spectrums and Walkmans.

    I can’t believe we could pair up the ZX Spectrum with mum and dad’s battered old tape recorder to load games! Remember the disappointment when a game wouldn’t load? It was always devastating to come back into the room and find the loading screen just flashing blue and yellow (silently).

    Remember…Survival, the free game that came with the Spectrum 48k? It was an educational nature game, but we played on that loads! Remember how we struggled to figure out Ghostbusters but it was exciting all the same? I used to play World Cup Football quite a bit as well. Remember Into The Eagles Nest on the Spectrum 128k (one of the first games I remember being addicted to) and How to be a Complete Bastard? Seemed quite revolutionary at the time! You loved Dizzy, didn’t you?

    Ahhh, happy days. Wouldn’t change the technology of my childhood for anything. Still, makes you feel old, doesn’t it?!

    (By the way, this is just for you…10>Print “Colin is Cool”.)


  3. Don’t insult the Walkman – I know which ones you are referring to but Sony brands all their new music players as Walkman too now, right?

  4. andytoots


    Have I inadvertently insulted the Walkman? I don’t believe so.

    This whole blog post was written off the back of a 13-year-old teenager comparing his iPod with Sony’s original Walkman (circa 1979). It’s a post about how, when teenagers start critiquing technology that Generation X grew up with, it can make you feel old!

    Yes, Sony’s MP3 players are all modern incarnations of the original ‘Walkman’ (and are branded as such). But I wasn’t writing about them!

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