I am amazed at how rapidly technology changes nowadays. Back in my grandma’s day, they had like, fifty years to get used to the idea of the wireless. Now, there’s barely enough time to figure out how to change the wallpaper on your iPhone before the next one comes out.
Teenagers today have it so lucky. Downloading songs requires two clicks and you have a complete, high-quality audio file (maybe even for free, if you are loose of moral and smart of figuring out how on earth to do it). When I was a teenager, I used to tape songs off the television. I’d get up at 10am for the Top 40 on Sunday mornings, and when a song would end I’d sit, braced in anticipation. I need to quickly stab my finger on PLAY and REC on the remote (for songs performed by bands with synchronised dance moves) or screw up my nose out of confusion (for songs performed by bands with actual instruments)?
I’d end up with most of a track taped onto a VHS, which I’d then play back later through the lounge room speakers. I’d sit there with a microphone held up, recording a distorted, crackly, mono track onto a cassette tape, which I’d listen back to on my walkman. The song would go through so many layers of transformation that by the end it was a copy of a copy of a copy, barely recognisable as a Spice Girls track at all. I don’t think it would even count as piracy.
All teenagers go through their rebellious phase, and I was no exception. When hormones were high and the world seemed unfair, I would feel the urge to rage against my parents. I’d want to blast death metal and get high. However, I was also a goody-two-shoes, and I didn’t even understand what death metal or marijuana actually were, let alone where to find any. So instead, I would sit in my room with chocolate bars I’d stolen from the fridge, blasting the Men in Black theme song.
Seriously. I am blushing just remembering this. That was how I rebelled – listening to a fuzzy pirate-lite copy of here come the men in black, galaxy defenders – while eating a mini-Flake bar I hadn’t asked permission to take.
It’s lucky I made it through alive.