Ain’t what it used to be!

Nostalgia… We’ve all been there: Maybe we’ve run into an old friend we haven’t seen for years, passed by a location where we frittered away our time as a kid, opened a box full of memories whilst cleaning out a cupboard. And then it hits you – that delicious moment of wallowing in the past, recapturing and reliving the things that once were. It’s a cosy, wistful trip down Memory Lane, and it can accost us at any time, without warning.

Sometimes, of course, we might intentionally seek out memories of those times. It can be quite therapeutic to spend a little time remembering the happy times of the past and reminiscing – it has that rosy-hued feelgood factor that can so often be missing in the grind of our everyday lives, and there’s nothing at wrong with trying to recapture those happy, sometimes long-forgotten, moments from our past to lift our spirits.

So it was, as I was idly scrolling through the tech pages of Amazon, filled with the irrepressable urge to spend, spend spend, I came across a cheap and cheerful cassette to MP3 ripper, and it was as if a golden ray of light had fallen upon the page, illuminating a need I’d never previously realised!

Weird though it may seem to my ancient mind, I know that there may be some readers for whom the term ‘cassette’ is something of a mystery. So, if that’s you, gentle reader, allow me to educate you…

In the dim, distant past, when MP3s were just a glint in a baby programmer’s eye, we had these things called CDs. Round, shiny discs that would magically play music when you slotted them into a player. Contrary to claims that they were practically indestructible and that they’d play without skipping even in the midst of a nuclear holocaust, many of us learned to our cost that taking a Stanley knife to a disc, or coating it in jam before inserting it, did in fact result in unplayable discs and wrecked equipment. Touted as the way that music would be heard in the future forever, they’ve now passed by the wayside and sit gathering dust in the corners of rooms, much to the dismay of the CD-rack industry! Enterprising types have since found alternative uses for old CDs, and you’ll find them forlornly dangling from bean poles on allotments, failing to scare the birds away.

The great advantage of CDs over vinyl, was their portability – but even before CDs we had a perfectly acceptable and brilliant method for carrying music with us… the casette tape.

Cassettes were brilliant. The size of a cigarette packet and cheap as chips, they sat side-by-side with vinyl on our record-store album shelves, but – better still – you could get blank ones too and record your own mixtapes, up to 120 minutes worth! There’s a whole generation who grew up taping their favourite radio shows, finger poised ready to press ‘Record’, hoping desperately that the DJ wouldn’t talk over the opening bars. The same generation who rated the quality of pens, not on their inkflow, but on whether they were of the requisite diameter to establish a snug fit with a tape spindle, thereby allowing the perfect wrist action necessary to wind a cassette tape rapidly by hand. Cassettes had their own special audio quality, warm and slightly muffled, and for plebs like myself who could only afford the cheap ferric oxide tapes, music always had a subtle, reassuring background hiss! Posh types who could stretch to ‘metal’ and chrome dioxide tapes, with their high-end HiFis and Dolby noise-reduction may have been laughing at us, but I reckon they were missing out!

The point to all this, is that I have masses of old-tapes stashed away, some of which I’ve not been able to listen to for decades, and suddenly – thanks to the wonders of retro-tech, I could!

I grabbed a tape at random, slotted it into the ripper, let it do its thing and then spent a blissfully nostalgic evening listening to music I’d been recording from the radio at the tender age of 16! It was brilliant… Even more so when, to my absolute delight, a recording of a request I’d made on the radio way back when I was still in school started to play. Just hearing that once more, after all these years, made everything worthwhile. I knew there was a reason I’d kept all those boxes of tapes, through 11 house moves and a whole lifetime of turmoil and change, and now it was justified.

There are many of us who have been around SL for a decent number of years too, and like the real thing, virtual life has changed greatly over time, and there are moments when either by accident or design, we can drift into that nostalgia for the way things once were. We hanker for the ‘good old days’ and the frontier spirit that the fledgeling vitual world presented; days when you never quite knew what to expect around the next corner, where sex and gambling rubbed shoulders with music and dancing on the very same region, the Lindens prowled inworld, and if you wanted to do anything at all beyond simple movement, pink and blue poseballs were the order of the day. We seem to forget the Wednesday downtime, the rubber-banding laaaaaaaaag, painted-on underwear, chunky hair and arriving from a TP with your head stuck up your bum! Then again, when we do recall those downsides, it’s with a certain fondness that an outside observer, or more recent SL resident might find a bit baffling. Such is the nature of nostalgia.

Aside from getting all nostalgic about what SL used to be like before the horrors of mesh, animesh, and environmental controls (I’m only half-joking, too), virtual living allows us to indulge our wistfulness for the past in ways that are somewhat less attainable in RL. Whether you want to stroll the streets of 1920s Berlin, walk the corridors of the Hotel Chelsea or dance to the music you grew up with, there’s something, somewhere for you to be found inworld.

All of which brings me back to the music that I fondly recall from my youth, because I’m about to be indulged! My good friend and landlady, Moon, is opening a brand new club – The New Moon – where apparently, ‘the neon is louder than the music’; and tonight will be its inaugral pre-opening event. The music will be from the 80s and I’m certain we’ll have a fab time – and, if you have a hankeing for the music of your youth, I can’t recommend a better place to be, and even if you don’t get all misty-eyed at memories of the sound of Duran Duran and The Cure, why not come along anyway and broaden those musical horizons? Find it here, tonight, 9pm UK/1pm SLT. Better still, join the Moonletters group and keep up to date with forthcoming events at the New Moon before they happen!

Second Life… Where the past is just a click away!

s. x

I wanna be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls, they wanna have fun
Ho hoo girls just wanna have
That’s all they really want
Is some fun

Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

This entry was posted in Events, Musicality, Party guests, RL, SL, Tour Guide. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ain’t what it used to be!

  1. Moon says:

    I just set up this up so I can comment, and your site is my first! Thanks for the plug, Seren.

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