I remember in 1982 standing at a tram stop in Burwood reading a copy of the science magazine Omni.
It contained an eye-popping story about the invention of a small silver plastic disc which had markings on it which could be read by a laser.
It could carry information for entire music albums, NEVER wear out, didn’t have to be turned over to get the other half of the album and was very cheap to produce. It was called a Compact Disc, or CD.
A few years later I owned one of these mighty devices and found it lived up to its claims and with that, my modest collection of large vinyl records seemed pointless.
For 30 years I have not stopped being impressed by these things.
But on at least two major news outlets this week there was a discussion going on: Is it time to check out your CDs?
There are two answers to that. No. And hell no.
In the Bushwhacked household we have a firm rule about not pilfering other people’s creative work.
But in the rapacious digital world, there is a myth that these things are free and any opportunity to pinch intellectual property is ok and is a “victimless crime”.
So, to follow on, by buying a physical thing – a CD, a DVD or a book – from a genuine outlet means we can be sure the owner of the work is getting at least a small drink out of it.
Not that I really understand downloading from iTunes, or streaming very well. But I still like the idea of buying someone’s work and always having it. Physically.
Our house is like a music reproduction museum.
We have sheet music (the very first way of selling your music to the world), musical instruments, an Edison gramophone, a beaut old turntable, two cassette decks and a couple of CD players.
There’s a Walkman somewhere and even a Discman. We also have a couple of MP3 players which get a trot sometimes.
Mrs Whacked has an almost vintage iPod Classic. (It must be ohh, seven or eight years old.)
The only thing we didn’t get involved in was the eight-track cartridge.
Mrs Whacked suggested I also mention we had AM radios as kids and when we said we were curling up for the night with the tranny, people didn’t go: Huh?
Today we find we are cool – again. We have vinyl and the gear to play it on and it sounds rich and warm and human. We have a somewhat nostalgic collection of old LPs.
Therefore, we have no intention of junking the CDs.
It’s estimated that more than 200 billion CDs were created between 1982 and today, but their sales are faltering and this year for the first time, digital down-loaded music outstripped CD sales.
But I can look at our CD racks and so many of them tell their own story.
Not just on their covers and from the little information slips many carry. But where and when that bit of music came into our lives.
The still very cool café music CD given to us free of charge by a clothes shop operator in Merimbula 25 years ago. The 20-year old Sea Change album which we bought when we used to take the kids on holidays to St Leonards on the Bellarine Peninsula. The Pink CD we bought after one of her magic Melbourne concerts.
Is it possible for anyone to get nostalgic about the circumstances of an iTunes download?