Monday, October 19, 2015

first walkman

hello there

yes. i do know that, look you see, and i appreciate what you are thinking 'walkman' is a brand name, and one that is trademarked by them off of Sony. the correct term for a non-Sony personal cassette player is, as point of fact, a personal cassette player. but everyone knows it as a walkman, and Sony should thus be proud that their brand has become a byword. if not, well, they are welcome to suck basically anything i have that they can access without causing me distress until they get over it.

and, after that laboured introduction, onwards we go. today i bought a walkman (see above), but not my first ever walkman. no, that's one we will get to on the travels through this blog. today i bought young William his first ever walkman (except for a basic mp3 player that he has been making do with).

why did i purchase this for him? because he has been after one for close to a year. why, in the year 2015, would he want a walkman, especially when he already has a serviceable mp3 player? that's a question that needs no answer if you happened to have seen Guardians Of The Galaxy. and if for some reason you have not seen it, see it - it's a wonderful, brilliant adventure film; very much a new Star Wars for a new generation. so much so, in fact, that this is maybe why i am not that excited about Episode VII : Mission To Moscow.

what William actually wanted was one of Daddy's "music thingies", for he knows that i have two. this was something i would have been delighted to give him. my efforts in this regard, alas, have failed. i spent every spare hour, and some that i did not have to spare, going through all the boxes of all our stuff. i found several items of great interest - my blu ray collection, for instance, and as point of fact a whole stack of tapes - but sadly not one single one of the two walman thingies, or if you like walkmen, that i have. weirdly, one is an actual, genuine walkman, for it is a Sony one with the word "walkman" emblazoned on it. so off i went, then, to purchase a walkman for him during lunch off of verk today.

where did i get this Bush portable cassette recorded / walkman from, and how much did it cost? Argos, for £9.99 coins of money, reduced from £14.99. did i select this one for him because it was the best one they had or the cheapest? neither case; it was bought for it was the only one they had listed as being available.

this has, of course, brought back all sorts of enthusiasm and memories for the first walkman i had. it was a very big and boxy thing, sort of metallic blue and silver. Mum & Dad got it for me in 1981 or 1982, for reasons i can only guess at of being related to birthday or christmas motivations.

first and favourite tapes? one of the first i had, and this i played on a "ghetto blaster" on the plane from England to Australia with massive headphones on, was one of them storybooks of one of the better Star Wars motion pictures, Empire Strikes Back. first music would probably have been the tape of the album of Prince Charming by Adam And The Ants. the fondest memory i have of my first tapes, however, is a tape that my Dad made me on his smart stereo of Queen's rightly celebrated Greatest Hits album.

that was a tape that was made of tougher stuff than you or i. it once, when we were staying in a hotel whilst moving from Sydney to Brisbane (as i am sure we all did at some point), the tape fell several storeys off a balcony and onto a rather menacing air conditioning system. an employee of the hotel (thank you) climbed out of a close by window and retrieved it for me; it was slightly cracked but i could still play it. let's see you do that with one of your fancy Apple iGalaxy Tablet things.

onwards to the now, then, and what tape was it that William was so very keen to play on his shiny brand new walkman? i would wager that if you have been paying attention, you can guess, but if not or you simply cannot be bothered, here you go.

yep, my first use proper of my newly reinstated stag was to convert the Guardians Of The Galaxy CD into the tape format that it was always intended to be in.

a video of me playing the first CD on the stag as i taped? why not.

oddly, i could have bought the soundtrack on tape for £5.99 off of HMV, but i didn't know it was to be available for one week only, so gave it a miss. now, of course, people are selling it on eBay for ten times that cost. hey ho, my taping skills shall suffice. 

but isn't hope taping killing music and, in brackets at the bottom as if to suggest the record labels were not sure of this claim, illegal? probably. somewhere on this blog is a copy of the NME from 1980 or 1981, in which the record labels said that home taping was costing them "about a billion dollars a year" and that the music industry would cease to exist by the mid-80s. we all know how that worked out.

so, what does William think of the experience now that he has a walkman with the tape he so desperately wanted for it? it was with interest that he observed that, on both the tape and CD, the songs are not in the right order, which is to say they are different from the sequence in which they appear in the film.

also, he has now accepted as fact that skipping backwards and forwards between songs on a walkman is not, as point of fact, as easy as it is to do on an mp3 player. Mummy and Daddy have been trying to caution him in this respect, but it did not bring an end to his determination to have one of these fine, fine machines. none, i should point out, of these observations have in any way, shape or form stopped or ended his enthusiasm for having the means to listen to music in the exact same way that Star Lord off of Guardians Of The Galaxy does.

do i get all nostalgic for tape? no, not really. i mean, i really do miss the romance and the challenge of making the perfect mix tape, and indeed the fact that you had to actually listen to the music as it recorded. but, if we are honest, Apple got it spot on with the iPod - the only success they had that i would say was well earned. mp3 may very well be a crap format to listen to music to when compared to vinyl or CD, but my word it is convenient when you are out and about.

just for a last picture for now on this subject, here, look, you see the running length of the CD for the soundtrack off of Guardians Of The Galaxy?

yeah, right. whoever made this made it with their mind on how long you had on one side of a blank 90 minute tape, and made it fit accordingly. nice one. and yes, William has on the go a 90 minute tape with this soundtrack recorded on both sides. it seemed to make life easier.

both of our children have a wonderful passion for music, even if for the most part it's the rubbish they make today. in that regard, my (considerably) better half and i must surely have done something right as parents, and we remain very happy to support them exploring whatever music does it for them.

if this blog post has brought back for you some memories of your first tape, your first CD mix, or the first time someone handed you a 64GB memory stick with a whole load of music that they had illegally downloaded for you, so much the better.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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