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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's a sign of the times

My younger son (11) was playing a game on the computer today. It was a detective game where you have to hunt around and find clues, solve puzzles, that kind of thing. But he was stuck, because he didn't know what a "cassette player" was. Even when I described a cassette to him, he still had no idea what I was talking about. So I went out in the garage and found a box of old tapes to show him.
I can remember getting my first cassette player -- I think for my birthday, but I'm not sure -- when I was 13, in 1972. The big, big song in the charts at that time was All the young dudes by Mott the Hoople. I absolutely loved that song, and I still do. It's had an odd effect on me actually, because when my eldest son turned 13, the song happened to come on the radio in the car and it made me cry! The opening chords evoke (in me) that feeling of being 13, of walking down the street (where my parents still live) on a Swindon council estate, listening to the best music I had ever heard in my life, not having a care in the world, looking forward to meeting my friends. It's a feeling that's never going to come back, so there's no point in wishing for it, yet the knowledge that my son feels that way is, in a way that I could never have imagined when I was 13, even better.
Mott's lead singer, Ian Hunter, was a favourite of mine for many years. I remember buying his first eponymous solo album when I was in the sixth form after hearing the fabulous "Once bitten, twice shy". I recorded the album on to a cassette tape some time later, and played it endlessly. Much later in life, the Ian Hunter Band's live double, Welcome to the Club, was (if I remember correctly) the first album that I put on my first iPod. It hate to say it, but they don't make them like that anymore.
In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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