Saturday, April 4, 2009

Record player

A couple of days ago, instead of taking the usual route, I decided to pass by a parallel street on my way to the library. The weird thing is that I’ve been living in Zurich for nearly eight months now; and I never walked that street although it is quite accessible. It must have been fate for I noticed a house-progressive-techno record store just around the corner. It’s the first one I’ve seen since my trip to Ibiza last summer, so I went in with a big smile on my face. And on a second note, I had been looking for a particular record so timing was perfect.
The moment I entered the store though, I instantly lost my smile and gave space for a shocked expression instead: this supposedly record store did not contain a lot of records at all. As a matter of fact, I think I even had more at home! It did not hurt to ask so I still inquired about the record I was searching for; and the salesman wished to know when it was released. I told him that it was not new: it must be two or three years old. He did not even try to look for the record because this shop was now only selling the “newest.” I didn’t want to show my disappointment since I believed that this was total rubbish, and not worthy for a record store that promotes electronic music (or any kind of music for that matter.) But then, with a troubled voice, he announced that they were actually closing down very soon because no one buys records anymore and DJ’s, instead of vinyl’s, are also gradually using the new technologies for their music. In the last month, they were liquidating everything… This news saddened me even though it was my first time to visit this store. So I decided to honor it and did what I love to do: spend a whole lot amount of time looking for music and then listen to them on the available player slot. Finally, I found some really good records and got them.
This incident suddenly got me into examining why record stores may soon become just another “phenomenon of the past.” And it is obvious that the reason that lies behind it is this clash between the past and the giant progress our society makes every year. Despite the fact that, today, we can all clearly see the difference between the sixties and the seventies, or the eighties and the nineties; I used to think that things wouldn’t really change in a space of a decade, not in my (young) time at least, and especially not while I’m still living in it. I started to analyze the difference between the nineties and the noughties and I realized just how many, many innovations there have been. It's absolutely crazy. And I cannot really place myself in whether I like it or dislike it.
Do not get me wrong: I have a MP3 player like everyone else and I adore my I-pod, but I still love to go to record stores [which, apparently, have become an endangered species.] I know my Walkman and my old CD player are lying somewhere in the closet as well, and I cherish my numerous tapes and compact discs. Additionally, I do recall the days when people did not steal music [and I’m proud to say that when I do download, I pay for it.] Furthermore, there’s no doubt that to be able to chat and use the webcam with friends and loved-ones, especially with those who live far away, is one of the greatest inventions; but I miss the days when we used to write and receive postcards and those long, long letters. I love digital cameras and de facto we can take a ridiculous number of pictures instead of the rolls of 24 or 36 shots, but I miss making time to get them printed and have albums like back in the days. Lastly, having a cell phone is crucial nowadays, but we did get along fine without it before (and at least we knew some numbers and our very own number by heart in case of emergency.)
I believe in evolution and progress, and am content about how easy things got for us. But I also care about old-fashioned values and reminisce about “the good ol’ days” pretty often. In fact, as one of my friends reminded me this week, I still live in the 1990’s sometimes. Consequently, I am assured I will become one of those parents who’ll say “You know, son, in my time…” Now I know where my parents come from... 

This clash between decades, between generations, becomes more understandable in time. It is simply crazy not to realize it later on in life, but while we are still enjoying and living in the current 00’s decade. I embrace new technologies like my favorite DJ’s, because it is more positive than negative most of the time; but I think it’s also great, like DJ’s who still play vinyl’s at times, to keep the habits of the past: there's nothing sweeter than writing and receiving letters and postcards, nothing is as fun as to develop photos and put memories in personalized albums; and never forget that, at the end of the day, “there is no school like old school.”