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Saturday, August 24, 2013


A friend came by the other day when I was in my room tidying up and on seeing my scattered tapes (most of them recorded movies)  asked how will I get rid of them. I said, 'I'm not; I have a VCR to watch them with.'  (pic of the model I'm currently using above)
 'Come on Amina, you still watch  video cassettes? You're so old school.' was her  reply. 'Nobody watches tapes these days.'
 Is that really true? 
The digital age has not only brought about radical changes in our gadgets and appliances but also the way we do things. I remember the times when I would buy blank audio tapes, record as many tracks as I could from my favorite radio station and listen to them for hours on my battery-run Walkman. Earlier memories of music listening are mostly listening to  my older brother's records on the turntable - New Edition, Michael Jackson, Kool & The Gang, Earth Wind & Fire, Atlantic Star etc. as well the ones my parents prefer-
King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and others... those were the days.

Along the line came CDs and CD Walkmans where one has the option of buying a CD of any artist or 'burn' a mixed one to listen at leisure and then was the introduction of the ipod and mp3 players which plays music files that are bought/found and  downloaded on the Internet and instead of bulky audio tape walkmans strapped to the belt or held in the hand, these little gadgets can be easily slipped into the pocket. Those who can't afford the luxury of ipods/mp3 players have the option of listening to them in their cell phones or their laptops if they wanted to just listen online.

From audio cassettes to mp3 music files; the same changes came to videos. When films came to the world, there was the projector. After TV, came the VCR where people watched movies via VHS cassettes (which I still do) before the advent of VCDS and now the DVD; plus video files that can be watched online on popular sites like Youtube and other sites where you have to pay for a subscription.
But the question, are there people like me who prefer the old days? I love the digital era, no question but my friend was wrong about people not listening to tapes any more.VCRs still exist and still sold by electronic companies; these days VCRs come with DVD compartments

and movies/T.V series, especially  those  that aren't  on  DVD  sold in VHS cassettes.Most radios these days too have both tape and CD compartments so I guess audio tapes are still used too.
While I love the picture and sound quality of today's DVDs; I still love (and prefer) my tapes. DVDs gets scratched when handled badly and the image ruined. There's the argument about  video tapes developing fungus  after some years  and making the VCR's head dirty but these days, tapes are treated with anti fungus during manufacturing. Like DVDS, you can continue from where you left off and let's face it... they last better. So with that last fact, I'm not old school at all; I know very well what lasts better and what does not. And people have the right to hold on to their preferences in general. My older brother and a cousin still listen
to music on the turnable; I asked why and they simply said the music they love just doesn't sound right on CD. I don't know how many people still use typewriters but I know I prefer my old laptop to Ipads; I tried using a female cousin's when I was visiting and I found it far too awkward. Just like I hold on to my hardback and paperback books in my bookcases instead of thinking about saving money to buy a kindle; I have nothing against ebooks exactly but I would rather read and own something I can physically hold in my hand.
The digital era has been kind to the world in terms of media, communication; even education. But when one tends to go 'old school' once in a while it's not up to people to judge. Preference is a person's right and it does feel good to slip into 'the old days' now and then.

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