I was at work the other day when Roger, the volunteer that helps me in the cafe, was in the back room which doubles as a 'green room' for the actors and performers that perform in the theatre. It's also an area that is used for storing certain items, among them the boxes and bags of donated secondhand books that we sell around the side of the building. Roger was sorting a few of these out for display over the weekend, and in doing so came across a box that was full of VHS videos. "Ah, " he said, "those are no good, are they. Nobody watches those anymore."
"Oh, I dunno, " I replied. "I kinda like videos."
It seems in this country even more than the USA, that the prevailing attitude towards technology seems to be, "If it's old, it's crap." People seem to have the idea that because we have DVD, Blu-Ray, satellite TV and streaming video, and iPlayer and YouTube, then old-school technology is absolute useless rubbish.
Twenty years ago or more, VHS was in everyone's house and we used it all the time. We relied on it to tape our favourite shows, we rented vids from Blockbuster and we used it in our camcorders. It didn't seem very crap then.
The same attitude towards tapes and LPs exists here, too. Old-school does not fly in the world of audio. If you showed a kid a Sony Walkman, they'd think it was some kind of joke. "What's that, Grandad," they'd sneer, in that snotty teenager kind of way. "A portable telly?"
Not me. I love cassettes, VHS, LPs, transistor radios, turntables, DIN plugs, Nintendo 64 (strike that - Space Invaders), auto-reverse, 45, 33 1/3, damped eject, pause, rewind.... I am an analog kinda guy. I am also always on the lookout for a bargain. Always have been. The most bang for the buck. Ever since I got into some serious record-purchasing grooves at the clearance rack in Woolies as a young lad... ah, takes me back. And so it was with this attitude that I ventured forth into the box of VHS tapes that were destined for the bin. And here is what I came away with, in pretty near mint condition all...
But what I want to know is this... why is this attitude so rampant in the good old GB? Why are we so desperate to chuck out anything that is not new? These things work just as well as before. So why get rid of them? A lot of people have tons of old VHS tapes kicking about and all they want to do is get the DVD versions and toss out the tapes. And, horror of horrors, they want to bin all the old VHS tapes they recorded movies and TV shows on in the 80s and 90s. Why oh why? A lot of those are probably quite rare, especially with the old commercials on them. I love looking at stuff like that and get quite nostalgic. Bless all those kind folk who take the time to put stuff like that on YouTube. I get quite misty just looking at an old ad for John Smith's Bitter or Hamlet cigars. I am sorry, but I love being of the generation that knew a tranny was not a cross-dresser. I am turning into quite the old geezer. And I like that. That's what we should all aim for - being an old curmudgeon, sprouting hair from all angles like Andy Rooney and harping on about the 'good old days' until these teenagers piss off and leave us alone. Oh, and pretending to be deaf, too.
The question is, what is the next item destined for the tech graveyard? Can't wait to get my hands on a freebie iPod Nano that someone's chucking away or a Segway destined for the landfill. Truth is, I love all this stuff, but if everyone else loved it too, I guess I'd still be paying full price for it rather than cleaning up at the bargain bin. So go ahead and throw it away, suckers. I'll find it. And enjoy the hell out of it.