It’s finally happened. I am officially old and Behind The Times.
I’ve never been a person who starts queuing for new fruit watches as soon as they’re announced. I’m not a bloke either, which may have something to do with that.
My old car was falling apart, so I got a newer one. A much newer one. The most alarming thing, apart from not being sure how wide I am when squeezed between an oncoming bus and a kerbside bollard, is its resolutely modern approach to music. IT HAS NO CD PLAYER.
Sorry. I’m a bit on edge. Do you have any whale song?
Remember cassettes? I am that old. I used to snip out the mangled bits of overplayed tape (usually a Monty Python sketch I was trying to learn), stick the ends back together and wind it back in with a pencil.
[Right, now the young people have gone we can have a nostalgic moan without them rolling their eyes and emojiing their friends at top speed with double-jointed thumbs.]
I had a Sony walkman that used to come running with me, playing enthusiastic, upbeat CHOONS to power me up hills. Towards the end of the battery life it was more chilled, so I could calibrate my fitness levels precisely to the battery changes, when Kate Bush sounded more like Bruce Springsteen and her Cathy squeaks weren’t so startling.
I had records, of course, with huge cover art to pore over while one side played, before I had to get up and employ brain surgeon hand-tremble control to let the stylus drift down into the groove without scratching. Remember the smell of warm vinyl just under your nose as you did that? If you’ve still got your entire record collection and play it regularly, just sit over there in the smug retro-fashion corner. And shut up about it. I’ll warm analogue sound you in a minute.
Then CDs, which were magic and ‘still playable when spread with peanut butter!’ Yeah, right. But for years now, I have driven around with my current favourite CDs in the car door. I was late to the iphone thing, and don’t have an ipod. Downloading is passing me by. I like to think it’s because of my rubbish rural broadband speed, but I seem to manage perfectly well with BBC iplayer so have to admit it is my own rubbishness.
And now I have a shiny car, a hole to plug in a tiny USB stick, and a vast library of music at home I need to transfer. Sometimes I think it would be easier to pack a live string quartet in the boot and have done with it.
No of course I haven’t attempted it yet. This post is just one of the imaginative ways I’m putting off discovering what a technological dinosaur I have become. Meanwhile, the car has a digital radio, so things aren’t all bad. I’ve even programmed some of them as ‘saved stations’ on the touchscreen thingy in the dashboard. I haz skillz.
Hello. I am a poet in my forties, and it’s been years since I learned a new technology. I know my strengths, and they usually involve a 2B pencil and some paper. My kids grew up with this – tell you what: I’ll delegate.