When I was younger my Sony Walkman was one of my favourite things. Today, you would probably think of it as a first generation device but I think this was 1982 and it was a WM-4 (or the like). There’s a picture of it here. My brother and I were at an age where we wanted to listen to our own music all the time so I suspect my parents thought it would be a good idea to get us one each so we could listen to our music in the car while they had Radio 2 on. And it stopped the arguments.
I was an avid singles collector at the time and the little Walkman unit wasn’t ever going to play vinyl 45s. So, at this point in my life I became a compilation tape wizard. I would spend hours putting tapes of my records together to listen to in the car. There would be the odd album track from one of my parent’s records but most of the tracks were from those singles of mine.
I would spend hours listening, rewinding, forwarding and listening again to my soundtrack to the 80s. If it had been number one in the charts during that period then it would have been on those tapes.
And so to – what I thought was going to be – the point of this little wander down memory lane. During that time in the early 80s I used to carry a small stock of batteries around. If the Walkman stopped working I just replaced the battery (although I did learn over the years not to use the rewind functions a great deal as they drastically reduced battery life). My cheesy 80s pop was always with me.
Fast forward to 2005. This afternoon I was heading to the gym and thought I’d take my new century Walkman-equivalent with me only to find the battery was drained. Except this time I can’t just swap out the batteries – I have to charge it. So I wasn’t able to walk with my music.
And they call it progress.
On a side note, my parent’s loft probably still houses the Walkman – the cassette part gave up years ago but the radio still works and the stereo sound from it is still one of the best I’ve ever heard. Those 80s hits singles are all stored in boxes in the same loft space but the compilation tapes have long since gone. It would be amusing to try and recreate one of them through the wonders of digital music but I shan’t be setting myself that kind of goal.