Vinyl records instead of mp3s
Think of classic albums like Sgt Pepper, The Dark Side of the Moon, Rumours, Alvin Stardust: The Platinum Collection– they are all works that are greater than the sum of their parts. Because getting out of your chair and changing the track on an LP is a pain in the arse, you tend to savour each side and probably the whole album in one go, as it was intended. Plus there’s the fact that an LP is tangible, lasts for years, can’t get accidentally wiped or cancelled if your Spotify subscription runs out, and has a cracking work of art on the front at a size that doesn’t require a microscope.
Why was the car invented? To be able to transport people faster than they could walk or cycle. When they brought in roofs and heaters, and radios, they pretty much got the automobile to where it needed to be. As long as a car starts when you want it to and doesn’t veer off the road of its own volition its function is pretty simple: personal transport that keeps you dry. But the manufacturers have to think of ever more ridiculous innovations to make it look like they’re doing something to appeal to the customer. So even the cheapest offerings made in Uzbekistan feature reversing cameras in the bumper (what the hell’s wrong with a rear windscreen?) and roof linings that change colour according to what your breath smells like that morning. And everything is electric or power-assisted. Because they’re now so complicated cars weigh three tons, are impossible to fix yourself and drive like a marshmallow.
Handwriting rather than typing
I never could write especially neatly but my handwriting in my schooldays looks like something from the Book of Kells in comparison to the calligraphical vomiting I inflict on the page now.
There’s just far too much shite ‘nourishment’ readily available. For every salad bar or deli there are twenty astronomically-named fat-peddlers: Chicken Galaxies, Rib Universes, Pizza Planets. Add this to the fact that a greater proportion of us are as lazy as sin and you have the reason why there are so many pale, blotchy, fat, wheezing bastards blocking the pavements and toilets of Britain. My dad once complained to me that all he ever ate as a teenager was meat, potatoes and ‘cabbage that had been boiled to buggery.’ But this meant that he was built like a whippet and was able to run for Surrey. His offspring (me), raised on the 21st century diet of grease and indolence, could barely run a bath.
Non-CGI special effects
Star Wars is the ultimate example – what looks better – puppet Yoda circa 1980 or ridiculous CGI Yoda somersaulting over people’s heads circa 1997? You can always spot a shortcut. You can always tell when the director had actually bothered to build a set and when he has merely paid someone in front of a monitor to do it for him.
Phone calls instead of text messages
I loathe phone calls but at least you can deduce what somebody is actually thinking if you’re able to hear their tone. Being a jumpy sort, I have been convinced on several occasions in the past that I’m about to be castigated/dumped/disowned/excommunicated simply because I misinterpreted a text that was supposed to be light-hearted.
Social interactions instead of Facebook
Facebook is great for exchanging brief banalities with people you quite like but don’t have enough conversational ammo to sustain a chat with. But this has the downside that eventually you conduct most of your conversations in this manner and when you do meet people in the flesh again, you’ve got nothing apart from a prickling face and blank brain.
Proper photographs instead of phone snaps
Everyone, thanks to their smartphones, is capable of taking a photograph. Usually of themselves pouting into the mirror while the glare from the flash obscures most of their face (young women) or of a gaggle of people about 1mm from the camera lens drinking and having ‘top bant’ (young men).
Only the serious ‘enthusiast’ would dream of actually capturing an image of anything that isn’t either of the above, bringing boring things like focus, composition, exposure and aperture into the equation, and of going to the trouble of getting the photographs physically printed out as opposed to clogging up the memory card on his iPhone, so they can be enjoyed many years later.
Maps instead of GPS systems
Mainly because the little blue arrow on my phone GPS, which knows I get lost as soon as I step out of my front door, enjoys pointing me in the wrong direction.
Normal property prices (and houses instead of flats)
Another aspect of modern life that has taken leave of its senses. When my parents got married, at a mean age of 23, they bought a 4 bedroomed Edwardian semi in a lovely tree-lined avenue for the modern equivalent of £67,000. These days the same house would skin you about £250,000. Plus back then people bought houses, with gardens and driveways. Most of the properties I see for sale these days are tiny apartments. Okay, so they may heat up in ten seconds and have the latest variety of Smeg fridge, but the only greenery you’ll have in the vicinity is your pack of Birds Eye peas.
And five modern advancements that I welcome wholeheartedly…
- Power showers
- Good coffee widely available for bugger all money
- Internet banking
- Internet shopping
- And as an honorary sixth nominee, I’ll include something else that the internet provides readily, that I slaver over whenever I have a moment to myself in my bedroom and which previously necessitated a trip to the magazine rack of the newsagent……I mean of course, Autosport!