It wasn’t that long ago that my teenage son looked at me as if I had gone mad, a look of total bewilderment on his face as we chatted about my youth, followed by four words that made me laugh “What’s a ghetto blaster?”
There is so much of my childhood that my son simply can’t relate to. Times have moved on and left many of my fondest memories as relics of an era which now feels like something out of the dark ages. Today I wanted to mention a few other aspects of life in the 1980s that my kids will never know and quite frankly, I think my life was richer for having experienced (most of them)
I loved buying the latest cassette tape! Tightening the cassette tape with a pencil was like second nature. Nowadays kids have no idea what to do with a tape and will never know the feeling of absolute joy of managing to record your favourite song from the charts without the DJs voice. Nowadays, kids simply stream music on demand with no need for extra devices or patience! Check out this hilarious video of two boys who discovered a cassette for the first time!
Does anyone remember the pain of dial up internet if you were lucky enough to have any internet at all? And then the crushing moment that someone picked up the phone to make a call and interrupted your browsing having already waited an eternity to get connected in the first place! Nowadays, the hardest issue is researching the best broadband deals so that internet connection is effortless, fast and economical! Nowadays, the hardest issue is researching the best broadband deals so that internet connection is effortless, fast and economical! Even then, using a comparison site is easier than waiting for your mum to get off the phone to her friend so you can do your homework!
With my first boyfriend, we had no way of getting in touch other than our land line telephones. Once one of us had set off to meet the other there were no last minute change of plans or change of routes. You were out whether you liked it or not and don’t get me started on organising group outings! Nowadays, kids think nothing of texting a friend last minute or chatting in a WhatsApp group. Technology might have made communication easier but I was definitely fitter from all that walking than my son is today (we’ll skip the part where I also had more colds from getting caught in the rain when I really wanted to cancel plans!)
Looking back on my teenage years now, I have to admit that I kind of envy my sons generation. Whereas he can take a hundred images on his phone, I had to rely on actual cameras and hope that my photographs never came back with one of those stickers on that said ‘sorry we couldn’t develop this because you put your thumb over the lens again!’ Harder still was the fact that for much of my childhood I have had to rely on my memory and as I age, it lets me down more and more. Photographs dont do that but I have to say that its a lovely feeling to flick through a photo album. Nowadays, images are uploaded and stored digitally but as with a good book, nothing beats holding a memory in your hand (see Book vs Kindle debate for the same argument about reading)
Two-Nine-One. That was my membership number for our local video store. We could reserve a video for the weekend and would spend all week excitedly counting down to movie night only to find that either a) the video hadn’t been returned by the previous person on time or b) it hadn’t been rewound so you had to wait for another 15 minutes while your Betamax Toploader rewound it for you. Ah the anguish!! Nowadays, video stores are a forgotten feature on most high streets as kids stream movies or simply watch them through Sky Tv, Netflix etc
I would love to explain all these to my son on the days when he cant get a strong wifi signal or the latest movie he wants to stream isn’t in high definition but I’m pretty sure that will just confirm to him that I am, indeed, a dinosaur! I think I’ll just reminisce on a lost lifestyle and whisper a silent thanks for broadband!