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?"