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Culture Tech

Nostalgic for bookstores

Photo by Wells Baum

Our online identities have become our real-life identities, one where the rapidity of instant communication breaks down the slow pace of life. Tech makes us impulsive and drains our patience–we demand things with a click of a button and expect a drone to deliver them the same day.

So it’s no surprise that some people want to feel what it’s like to slow down again. The record store may be dead–selling CDs at least–but the bookstores continue to fight against the frenzied activity.

Amazon just opened its second bookstore on the West Coast. The Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris is thriving, offering “an antidote to commercialism.” Some readers prefer personal recommendations over algorithmic ones.

For some, there will always be an allergic reaction to the rapidity, convergence, and intangibility of digital life, and a nostalgic desire to visit places that encourage us to think, browse, and chat. We will not salvage or recreate everything pre-digital, but we will prop up those spaces that give us an escape from the velocity of ourselves.

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Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

One infinite loop

niklas-rhose-14302

  • Smart watches
  • Kindle books
  • Spotify streams

The newest technologies erode their physical counterparts, but they also revitalize interest in the old stuff.

The sensory, tactile experience of analog items as those listed above literally feel more special. They are stimulants: the subtle noise of a telltale “tick-tock,” the fresh smell of an unopened book, or the surface noise of vinyl, not to mention the album art that doubles as real-life Instagrams to make fancy wall art

People want reality. They want to disconnect from the internet’s dizzying pace and reconnect to those micro moments.

Nature nurtures and refocuses our sense of being. We are more than just robots seeking the temporary therapy of distraction.

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Uncategorized

John Peel on vinyl

John Peel: "Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don't have any surface noise. I said, 'Listen, mate, life has surface noise."

“Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs
are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise.
I said, ‘Listen, mate, life has surface noise.”

John Peel

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Categories
Social Media Tech

How teens and hipsters stain the resurgence of Vinyl


Vinyl artwork looks like framed Instagrams. No wonder the kids use them to decorate their dorm rooms. Vinyl covers are like the new posters.

“I have vinyls in my room but it’s more for decor, I don’t actually play them”

Note: She said ‘vinyls,’ the equivalent of saying something like ‘The Facebook.’

While records are meant to be played, vinyl enthusiast Liz Buckley also points out that at least these so-called hipsters are supporting music even if they never spin a record.

Music is an elastic medium — each format birthed its stigma. The iPod obviated the mini-disc, but MP3 files clogged the hard drive. Streams made music abundant but fungible. Tapes were an interim format, albeit they are still big in Japan. Meanwhile, CDs turned song names into unforgettable track numbers.

“It’s a sadness to me that the invention of the CD means I know far too many tracks by their number, not their name. “OK Computer‘s your favourite Radiohead album? Me too, me too. Bloody love track five.”

However, vinyl is the two-sided original. Its imperfections mirror the real and raw aesthetic of Instagram Stories and Snapchat that teens love today. Like an unopened vinyl, many of those social media posts go unopened — signal exceeds the noise.

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Tech

Japan’s Portable Record Players

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It was hard to find an affordable record player in 1960s Japan. So the Japanese companies built their own cheaper, portable vinyl versions. Each design was fantastically unique.

The devices were cheap, mass-produced players that were made, not only by electronics companies, but also toy companies and even industrial companies. Looking back on all the unique designs that came out, each was more groovier than the next.

Not surprisingly, the Japanese followed up with the world’s subsequent music players: the Walkman and Mini Disc until the iPod and the smartphones became the dominant playback device.

In related news, Japanese companies announced that they will officially stop making VCRs this month.

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Uncategorized

Simplicity is a response to a world that appears to be changing uncomfortably quickly.

Deyan Sudjic

He continues:

“A generation that never handled a photographic negative, used a landline phone, or typed a letter has rediscovered the qualities of vinyl records, and the charms of Polaroid film.”

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