Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Times They Are A-Changing


I was sorting some things out the other day and I came across this old photograph I had taken some twenty or so years ago. It shows my room in the house we lived in back in Sheffield at the beginning of the 1990s. As I looked more and more at the photograph I became aware of how much changes over time. I am writing this sat in an equivalent room 25 years later, but little of what was around then survives to this day.


The box of floppy computer discs probably still exists but I have no use for them now other than as drip mats and coasters. Equally, there is still a box of cassette tapes hanging around in the garage, but I have nothing to play them on. That old framed illustration from a nineteenth century trade union hall eventually faded away into oblivion. The terrapins all died - it is a sad story that I can only retell after the watershed - and the tank gathered slime until it was disposed of. I am not sure what happened to the two printers: my wife tells me I have at least six old printers gathering dust in the garage, but I fear those two examples of the genre are not amongst them. That vast computer monitor - and all of its subsequent sisters, cousins and aunts - was eventually replaced by flat screen devices. The African drum remains unplayed and I am forbidden to touch it by my wife after she read an article about anthrax and traditional drum skins. The enlarger is in bits, no light having shone through its lenses this millennium. The BBC computer remains, preserved in dust sheets and bubble wrap in the hope that I will live long enough for it to be a fitting inheritance to pass on to my son. I would like to say that the chair has survived, but it hasn't. It collapsed under my weight one day back in 2002

There is certainly a great deal of evidence within the photograph that the times, indeed, have been changing. I am seriously tempted to take a photograph of my room today so that someone can look back on it in 25 years time and say, "good gracious, he had one of those iPad things, and what on earth is that vast machine with paper in it?"

12 comments:

  1. I read an article (in the old newspapers) about someone contracting anthrax from (they suspected) a shaving brush.

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  2. Alan, this takes me back. When I started working at the university in 1995, technology was moving so fast, the institution was constantly dumping old machines and buying new, shiny ones. We had an Elonex 386 in the office, and there was an orderly queue for the internet during lunch breaks. Many of the discarded machines stopped at my home en route to the recycling depot. Some stayed for a considerable time. I didn't buy a laptop until 2002, but that was a defining moment. All of the old kit went, after that. You mention the Dot Matrix Printer. This was such a novelty for my line manager, back then, that she insisted on printing and filing every email she received. I'm afraid the IT revolution was lost on some.

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  3. And the beat goes on...We got rid of a lot of that kind of stuff last year when we moved, but I have a drawer full of cords. No idea what they belong to.

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  4. Isn't that interesting! haha. We're planning a kitchen remodel and I pulled out an old decorating book of mine and looked through the kitchen section. The photos amused me! The top of the line kitchens they were featuring back then had huge computers, wall phones with long curly cords, etc...even the appliances were substandard for this day and age.

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  5. Cassette player. . . reminds me of having to explain to my daughter last year, at Great Grandma's farm, what a clothes pin was used for.
    My wife keeps trying to throw away my rotary dial phone I have in the garage.

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  6. A room full of antiques. All it needs is you in the frame.....

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  7. Venetian blinds too! What a blast from the past for you. It all looks neat too, you must have straightened up for the photo! My office space never looks that neat!:)

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  8. A fascinating "lesson" contained in that photo. Everything technological becomes obsolete! Take a photo of your modern-day office and hopefully we'll both be here in 25 years to laugh about it.

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  9. I once knocked a daisy wheel off. Having no idea of the "key", I tested one position at a time until a equaled a.

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  10. It's pretty scary how much has changed in 25 years. Good post to prove your point.

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  11. Well casette players are actually still made by Sony and I have one that I used once to play old recordings of kids. Wanted to preserve them. Odd idea?

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  12. Take that photo! I have spent the last 30 years project managing business move projects - the workplace is a very different environment now. I used to play a game with my kids along the lines of - "what would have been strange to grandma and grandpa when they were your age?" Good post.

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