The Advance by Daniel Dilworth May06

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The Advance by Daniel Dilworth

So, for a long time people had to go to halls to listen to music and hear Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin et al perform their tunes. This was basically the only way unless you were 1) aristocratic and had a shitload of money which you were only going to use to make a giant bust of your head or 2) you were a poor person with nothing to do except eat, work the fields, eat, work the fields, play the fiddle or bodhrán, go to bed, and then repeat this exercise every day for all forty years of your life.

Then we had a revolution at the end of the 19th century: there was a contraption you could hear music on. Some would go as far as saying it was “invented” by Thomas Edison (who, as many know was a blatant liar. Just ask Nikola Tesla.) This was good, and everyone loved it.

Until we got the record player! Now you could play big discs on even bigger machines (okay, so it is a variation of the gramophone. Who cares?) Now you could listen to Beethoven’s Greatest Hits from the comfort of your own house, which, let’s face it, is the equivalent to a modern cardboard box.

And this was good. But then, wait for it! We got the cassette (which is about as favourable in retrospect as a Fiat Punto compared to the 500.) They wore out easily, you have to skip through them to find your song, you had to flip them over (which could also be advantageous to an extent.) Compared to the vinyls they were way more versatile: this is still their only real edge over the CD. Yet, vinyls didn’t wear away so quickly. Vinyls had that crackling sound which many people still love so much.

In 1979 or so a new thing was invented called the compact disc. It didn’t catch on for another twenty years or so, but when it did it spread almost as quickly as SARS. Suddenly people were chucking out their old Alanis Morisette cassettes and getting James Blunt CDs. CD players were in,  casette-only was out, and after a while anything that had the ability to play a cassette was so 1994. And the CD was king of the crop.

Not for long though! We have this yoke called “the Internet” which now allows us to download songs (legally and otherwise.) CD sales have plummeted, HMV has gone the way of the cassette and that’s the end of the story.

Except that today record players are selling more than they have since the 80s. True, it is older people with nothing better to do than listen to the warbling of The Beach Boys or The Monkees. These devices come with built in CD players and the ability to put these songs on your music devices.

So, yeah, music has come a long way. Despite all our advances, we still happen to have some people on the TV talent shows who can’t string two notes together without killing a family of ducks or people on the radio (oh yeah, that’s as strong as ever) who just play computer noises and depend on little girls to scream and shout their names and be totally obsessed with them instead of having a life -or having plastic surgery. You can make yourself look younger, yes, but men will start to learn that you are well into your fifties and sixties so it is nearly a waste by this stage, Madonna.