While having a good old beer fueled flick through my 7” singles for the first time in what seems like years the other week I found myself pulling bits of my past from between the records. Random stickers and flyers from when I bought records, or random music nonsense I had put in their storage box for safekeeping.
While none of it was particularly exciting on it’s own, it served as an accidental nostalgia trip and got me thinking, what’s next for collectors and historians?
There are stories all the time, about boxes of records being found in attics, notes in the sleeves. Photographs in boxes that tell of times that now, almost seem alien.
What happens when this generation croaks? Hard drives full of pouting selfies and memes hardly seem like much of a view of our time. But with people increasingly living their lives in a digital plane, what will future generations dig up?
Password protected devices, encrypted cloud storage, lost culture.
The digital era has huge advantages, instant world wide communication, instant referencing, GPS navigation the list is neigh on endless. With just my iPad, I can write this nonsense, compose a full album of music, read a book, catch up on the news, watch pretty much any TV show or film, phone people, email people and listen to music. I can do everything.
It used to be that when I traveled I’d have to make sacrifices as to what I took with me, now all I need is my iPad. Lives can be led entirely digitally now. You don’t even need to physically go into work for some jobs. Just fire up the laptop and get cracking.
This creates a problem too. Everyone can do everything. Jobs that once required a special skill set or enough dedication to invest in equipment have been over run. Don’t know how to do something? YouTube. Now we’re drowning in sub-par photographers, journalists, sound engineers you name it, there are now too many, because it’s all too easy.
Journalism is one that I’ve been noticing more and more recently. Everyone has a keyboard in front of them now, and good on them for trying, but everything is getting diluted. In music journalism especially I find there are far too many cookie cutter reviews, flat and soulless. One clear exception I have found to this is JJ from the Obelisk, who wires in with a passion and personality that could be seen as lacking from many. That’s not to say everyone else is piss poor, far from it, but as an example, it took me ten minutes with a head full of coffee to write this and stick it online.
Over the last ten plus years the gig poster has almost disappeared into obscurity. Why got to the hassle and expense of printing and distributing posters and flyers when you can slap some text over a still from an 80s movie and just fire it on social media?
The vinyl revival may well be changing minds the world over, but when websites come to the end of their lives, as many do, where do the reviews and contents go? Not a box in an attic somewhere. It’s true there are archiving services that archive pretty much anything that goes on the Internet, but with out knowing what you’re looking for you’ll be lost.
Somewhere in storage, is a box containing my grandfather’s diaries and photographs from the end of the second world war. He was a fastidious note taker, and I’m looking forward to reading everything he chronicled. The bonus to this is I will not have to try and guess his password, or mothers maiden name or try and hack his email, all I’ll have to do is open a box.