I think we should have to start all nostalgia stories with the words “in my day” and when you read it, you should shake your fist.
I find a lot of nostalgia stories disingenuous. I don’t think they mean to be, I just think we sometimes sugar coat the past because we want it to be better than now. We want our time to be valid and relevant. Who doesn’t want their things to be best?
Some things really were better, though. Music, for instance.
Not the actual music, I would not presume to say that nothing made today is as good as the music of my youth. I do kind of miss guitars, though.
Not the music, but the way we listened to music.
I love music right now. I am not saying the way we listen to music now is bad. I love having any song I want to hear at my finger tips. I love the long playlists that can last an entire weekend without once having to get up and flip the album over for side two.
But there are a few things that we’ve lost. There are experiences that won’t be a part of younger people’s lives.
For instance, kids today will never have the experience of being able to judge a new person by flipping through their record collection.
I loved going through people’s record collections.
Even if I had seen their collection multiple times. Didn’t matter. I wanted to see it again. That first time, though, that was always fun. Like opening a new book from a favorite author. You didn’t know what you were getting, but you knew it would be good.
If you are my age, then when you were young, you had either Frampton Comes Alive or Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. You probably had both, but you at least had one of them. So, I expected to see those two albums. But if I leafed through someone’s collection and saw Pat Benatar, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Jett and Tom Petty, then I knew we would be friends. Flipping through friend’s collections brought me The Clash and INXS and U2 when they were new.
My kids didn’t have that experience.
I guess they had similar experiences with CDs. But really, bending over to look at the spines of CDs kept in the diamond shaped etageres (holds 700 CDs or DVDS or 300 VHS tapes!) is not the same as sitting on the floor with two milk crates of albums to rifle through.
The other thing I think we miss is we never get nudged to remember what we’ve forgotten. Say your are flipping through your record albums and find that K-tel Super Hits Of The Seventies album. You might have lived the rest of your life without ever hearing CW McCall sing Convoy ever again.
In my day, we had to be careful about jumping around because a scratched record was a sad, skippy record. We heard pops and cracks in our music and it sounded glorious. Watching a stack of albums drop and play one side at a time was how we marked time. We knew we could listen to side one of Elton John’s Greatest Hits before we had to leave our friend’s house to make it home in time for dinner. Almost.
Now, get off my lawn.
Sorry about the Convoy earworm. Kind of.
Photo courtesy of Vural Yavaş