Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Whither The Walkman?

A 13-year-old boy gives up his iPod for a week to review the Sony Walkman for the Beeb, over here. Favorite quote: "It took me three days to figure out there was another side to the tape." Clearly his parents are fonder of techno-flash than either my wife or I am, because my 10-year-old could have helped him out with that.

It only now occurs to me that the iPod is the first portable music player I've ever owned (discounting the Pioneer boom-box that sat in my various bedrooms from 1981-1984; car stereos too, for that matter). I'm not sure why I never purchased a Walkman, or one of its competitors. I was certainly attracted to them at the time. Sound quality was an issue, I think, as well as longevity. Those little tape players had a reputation for dying within a month or two of the warranty's expiry.

It's amusing to think that back when my group of guys first met we were all in the habit of carrying a briefcase of cassettes just about everywhere we went. The last couple of years it's been a matter of who gets to plug his 'pod into the speakers next. Vive la change, I say.

So tell me: what happened to your Walkman?

10 comments:

Joel said...

Still using mine. No complaints yet, and no reason to upgrade. (One tape or two tapes per walk is usually plenty for me.)

Whisky Prajer said...

Really?! You'll have to post a picture of that thing. Are cassettes still popular in Japan?

Joel said...

Not new cassettes, but blank cassettes for dubbing purposes are common enough.

My first car in Japan only had a tape player. There was no radio in the countryside, so after a few months of just singing to myself in the car I started putting together mixed tapes. I would get sick of one mixed tape within a couple of days, so I started making lots of them and working out a rotation.

After all that work with mixed tapes, I'm reluctant to change technology now. All my travelling music is on tapes, and I have a walkman for on foot. Not high tech, but no complaints.

DarkoV said...

Prescient, Sir. You are quite prescient.

Read it First! Go to Whisky first.

DarkoV said...

..Oh, and I got my first (of two) Walkmans when I rec'd a promotion from a company in Jersey to help run their Canadian division in Montreal. I loved it. Biking up and around Mount Royal and skiing in the Laurentians hooked up to tunes was exhilirirating.....
....and stupid. Don't know how many times I almost got run over by cars or skiers because I was in tune but out of touch with my surroundings.

What an idiot! I concluded that God had some more important plans in store for me. Unfortunately, as I am not a big fan of iPod, He hasn't been ableto get in touch with me digitally.
That first Walkman lasted longer than my first (and only) iPod.

Whisky Prajer said...

I'm astonished you survived your Walkman years, DV. At the time, cycling with headphones on would have been a temptation for me, too. These days when I see adults my age and older with iPod buds crammed into their ears as they cycle, jog or drive the car I have to wonder what next, surer distraction is finally going to qualify them for the Darwin Award.

DarkoV said...

WP, I am in eager anticipation of my Darwin Award and, yes, I am even now still stunned I wasn't recepient back in my Walkman days. Unless, of course, since the Darwins are always granted posthumously, I have received it and am living in an alternative universe where the more things change, the more they stay the same so I haven't yet realized I'm simply compost.
Here, let me pinch me.
Hmmmm.
Don't feel a thing...

Whisky Prajer said...

Then might it have been you taking that stroll through Neverland? It would explain so much, particularly the grumpy slouch in the shoulders.

paul bowman said...

Stumbled on this and was amused, a little while ago — a couple of impulse-click steps away from gmail.

Whisky Prajer said...

Nice!