Remember cassette recorders? Of course you do. If you don't, then chances are you won't like anything in this blog post, being far too young to appreciate them, or you're an Alzheimer's patient, in which case, how did you even manage to navigate to this page? Wow. I am truly stunned.
Like I was saying, remember cassette recorders/players?
Remember when they first came out, the 'Eject' function was a bit clunky? It would either fail to fully eject and you'd have to manually help it along or it would shoot out with manic force and just about send the tape shooting off into the troposphere. Then some boffin at Sony or Philips or somewhere similar invented the damped-eject mechanism. You press the button and the door glides silently open - no clunk, no smash, no jam. Nice. Quiet. Nice.
If you are a person that remembers damped-eject with fondness, then take a gander at this...
One thing I am noticing more and more is an anti-80s backlash. Today's yoof seem to be convinced that nothing good came out of the 80s, citing such references as The A-Team and Kajagoogoo as "proof". Just tonight a 20-year-old young lady of my acquaintance started going on about how 80s music was shit, referring to her experience at an 80s bar (a phenomenon I'd never heard of, but where do I sign?) where there was a cardboard cutout of The Hoff standing next to a replica of KITT.
OK, so those are bad examples. But yesterday I saw a book that absolutely incensed me. Obviously written for laughs, Wayne Williams' "The Crap Old Days: Why All That Stuff Was Actually Rubbish" is a sideswipe to all the stuff that seemed cool at the time but is actually a load of old tat. However, skimming through the book just angered me. I actually liked about 90% of the things it talked about. It seems that although this is not the first generation to look on the past and laugh, this one is the harshest. Having lived through the 70s and 80s I can attest that although there were lots of things about that era that sucked, there were also many many things that blow today's stuff out of the water. And yes, my Walkman is one of those things. I cannot get as excited about an iPod as I can the thrill of putting that precious cassette into the machine, clicking Play and hearing Run-DMC's "Raising Hell" for the first time. And what's so crummy, might I ask, about Rubik Cubes? They are still difficult. And fun. Get your face out of that godforsaken Xbox and try it.
Perhaps the young lady at the 80s bar went on a bad night. Or perhaps she's just one of those typical younguns who thinks that making every punk anthem sound like a stadium epic is the way things ought to be. The 80s music scene was not as shit as it seems... granted, the Top 40 was dire, full of Foreigner and Styx, Alexander O'Neal and Luther Vandross (yeah, "dross" is right), Renee and Renato and other cheesy nonsense. But this was also the decade that brought us The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Soft Cell, New Order, The Art Of Noise, Orange Juice, Bauhaus, The Cure... the decade that gave us Eddie Murphy, Ghostbusters, Tom Hanks (impossible not to like him), Back To The Future, Metallica, Weird Al, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Ferris Bueller, John Hughes, Balki, Madonna, Columbia House, synthesisers, Michael Jackson when he was actually good, Muppet Babies, Inspector Gadget, Hanoi Rocks, The Wonder Years, Roseanne, The Cosby Show, The Young Ones, Blackadder, Ben Elton...
Any more suggestions?
If it weren't for that one boffin and his damped-eject, we'd all be having toilet seats that slammed down and woke everyone else up. That was a stellar idea, and guess what? It came from the 80s!