I was born in 1995, 21 years ago. I’ve seen a lot of things technology wise- I remember as a child having the BBC channels and that was it, the fuzzy grey dots taking over your television screen to be met with a message “we are experiencing technical difficulties right now, sorry for the delay” on a daily basis. The effort of rewinding your video all the way back to the beginning, or a white label on the front of your video with you parents writing “Wind and the Willows” and it being 101 Dalmatians as the video had been recorded over and over again that you weren’t quite sure what it was anymore.
Another distinct memory was the one Christmas you received a game boy and you really thought you were one of the cool kids as you raced to HMV to buy a Pokémon game to match. The AOL dial up for the Internet and your parents shouting at you because they wanted to use the phone and it simply wasn’t possible to use the Internet and the phone both at once.
This was less than twenty years ago and all in my lifetime yet today, I am still incredibly young but I’m surrounded by Apple iPhone’s, Ipads, Wi-Fi in every restaurant, café and shop. We can download a song within seconds and if we want to watch something we don’t need to trek out to Blockbuster on a Friday night (although I did always enjoy the journey) except now we are spoilt for choice, Amazon Prime? Netflix? Sky Go? Too much choice, in fact, where it probably takes us around 40 minutes in our household to decide on a film.
The rapidness in technology over the past few years has been astounding, but is it something that we all want? Last year I brought my first record player, a slick mint green Crosley. I’d loved sitting with my father as a child, listening to all his records and was always impressed with his extensive music collection. I’d raided his collection once more but this time it was 2016 not 1998.
But it seems it’s not just me that’s into records these days. In fact, the rebirth of vinyl has even seen sales overtake the internet, musicians have made more last year from records than they have from their songs streamed on sites like Youtube and Spotify which saw vinyl sales rise to their highest level since 1988, increasing by 32% to $416 million. In the US alone, 17 million vinyl’s were sold in 2015, a rise of 28% on the year before. The top selling record was Adele’s ‘25’ which shifted 116,000 copies, followed by Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’, with 74,000. Among the other records in the top 10 were Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’. Currently musicians are being paid as little as £0.005 per streamed song meaning they have to get millions of listens to earn even a basic living.
So why are we going back in time? Are we perhaps, one of the most nostalgic generations ever? We consistently play a part to the throwback Thursdays and the Flashback Fridays. But there’s something comforting about the past, streaming old Friends episodes on our state of the art laptops or tablets while you recover from a hangover is somewhat soothing. It’s a familiar show, in fact you’ve probably seen every episode and you know what happens in the end, hell, you probably even know half the script off by heart, yet, you still watch. Perhaps you’ll even post an Instagram of one of the characters too and a hilarious quote with it. Then maybe you’ll share a post on Facebook about how the Friends reunion is definitely happening. Take a look into our wardrobe; Urban Outfitters clothing that features ‘Fila’ and ‘Fred Perry’ or Topshop’s ‘90’s grunge’ collection, all inspiration taken from our younger years.
Don’t get me wrong; a bit of sentimentality never hurt anyone. I prefer using my Sunday’s to head into town and flick through the hundreds of vinyls at Rose Red Records and listen to each song in my room instead of knowing just one song by the artist, like I would if I had streamed it. I’m glad vinyl has made a comeback; it’s time to appreciate music more. But we need to engage with the present too, the noughties and nineties changed culture forever, that’s what’s so appealing about those two decades but don’t forget to put time aside to think about what you want this decade, the decade with no name, to go down in history for.