Saturday, February 05, 2011

What liberal folks like

Transfer vinyl, tape, CD and radio to digital format

This superb music centre includes an amazing six functions – all in one compact and attractive 1930s-style unit.

The stereo gramophone is ideal for playing your 33s, 45s or 78s, and the handy tape deck means you can enjoy your favourite cassette recordings.
Wut? The Guardian, a progressive newspaper, offers its readers a music centre, with a gramophone, in a 1930s-style unit. One surely must ask oneself the question "why, oh why, oh why?" Why take all this modern technology and put it into a unit styled after the most reprehensible tastes of the period entre deux guerres? What is to be gained by having one's hi-fi in an ugly old-fashioned box? Does this decision not suggest that one is afraid of technology, and perhaps of The Now? Is not incumbent upon middle-class liberal people to disparage suburban petit-bourgeois tastes, rather than perpetuate them? It is not as if this thing were retro-cool or ironic or anything, is it?

My only explanation is that it is an unconscious disguise. The Guardian reader who buys this thing will be using it to commit copyright offences, making digital copies of his Slovenian folk dance LPs and his cassette tapes of gigs from the Acid Jazz scene in Rochdale. Despite long hours of self-justification ("people like me are preserving Art for future generations;" "the major record companies are not interested in this sort of work any longer") he still feels tinges of guilt. Hiding his recording equipment in a 30s casing is a subliminal act of camouflage, putting his guilty secret away in a respectable wooden box.

Or perhaps he really thinks the Copyright Police will come round looking for secret recording gear; in which case, they will never think of looking in there.


Stephen Stratford said...

What have you got against Rochdale?

Ethan Tucker said...

I've always assumed those faux-retro stereos were meant for elderly music fans who want to play their LPs and enjoy the novelty of a radiola like Ma 'n Pa used to own back in black & white picture days. As for the hipster buyers, wouldn't this be a step too far towards twee rather than knowingly ironic?

Paul said...

Stephen, I am not really sure, but you are right: Rochdale is a recurring feature of my posts and comments; some deep issue from childhood, perhaps. I have never been there, but I hear it is horrible.

Ethan; I have always assumed the same, but I thought such music fans read the Daily Express. I thought Guardian readers were either hippies or hipsters. Maybe I was wrong.

Peter in Dundee said...

Paul the prime purpose of the device is not for the continual playing of your vinyl albums but to transfer them to digital format for playing on your electric thinking machine or your eyePod. If you have seen the competition in the field you will know that aesthetic considerations were almost absent when they were designed. So the unit is there for those of at least some taste. Anyway, haven't your heard? retro is the new black. Aparently.

dritchie said...

I, for one, welcome the opportunity to copy my CD, via an analog cable, into a digital format.