SIMON YORKE - THE ESSENTIAL RPLAYER

Another inspiring digital detox write up by Simon Yorke. "If you have a collection of records, a record player is essential. Furthermore, if there is no live music to be had, then you must make your own concerts or go without. It looks as if a great many of us will be spending a lot more time in our homes, whether by choice or bureaucratic diktat. We know this because it has already happened. As ‘working from home’ is now an established part of the ‘new normal’ we are forced to endure, it makes sense for us to create an environment as pleasing as possible. If you spend endless hours sitting at a desk, a comfy and spine-supporting chair is important, is it not?"

"Nature did not design us to stare at a screen endlessly. Yet that is precisely what a great many of us do nowadays. Whether entering data into spreadsheet cells, manipulating pixels, or watching videos of kittens playing football, we are entirely focussed on visual stimuli. Not a variety of visual input, mind you, just one: close-up, mostly static and soulless. We do this out of obligation or boredom, and it is very unnatural. Instinct commands our eyes to scan near and far: seeking food and water, the avoidance of danger, a potential mate, shelter, delight. But technology has given us the ‘convenience’ of a screen as substitute, and a lot of people seem to rather like it. Better than reality, for many.

To relieve the tedium, we sometimes add a little background music. You know, a click on this or that, and sounds come out of a tiny loudspeaker jammed into the corner of your computer or is piped though buds you poke into your ears. This sound distracts you from your drudgery in a utilitarian way but doesn’t nourish you. It is as soulless as the screen, and equally unnatural. A tinny, emasculated sound courses through your auricular system into your overall psyche, polluting it with a synthetic approximation of what was perhaps once a cultural offering. But it soon passes from being an anti-boredom recourse to becoming an annoying tedium all by itself.

On and on it goes. Our need for other stimuli increases. So, we click, tap, and swipe our day away. We sometimes stare through a window at the world outside our new normal, at the old normal of trees and birds and clouds traversing the sky under which we used to live. Do we hanker for our former biological imperative, or are we now content with our uber-controlled screen-and-buds as substitute? A world of fakery and convenience, subjugation by technology. Is the clicking and tapping controlling us, or us it?

Surveying your home with a new perspective, is it ideal, appropriate, or even fit for purpose? After all, everything has changed. Perhaps your dining room table is now your work desk, or the spare bedroom has become repurposed as a home office. When space is limited, what is truly useful and what is junk? And then you look at that wall of vinyl records…

A treasure trove of music, memories, and potential joy – recently side-lined by digital convenience?

Perhaps it is time to return those once-cherished albums to your immediate life, where they may once again kindle pleasure and remind you of what once was a major focus of your existence, before wives and kids and the pressure of money-accumulation. Do you remember that old normal of high volume, dancing, and seduction, in dimly lit rooms reeking of musk, marijuana and incense sticks?

Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag."