I was back at my folks’ place recently, sorting out some of my old stuff when I came across my old Walkman, personal CD player and mp3 players. Before I could throw them away, I felt suddenly nostalgic and took the photo below.
So I thought I’d take a self indulgent and completely pointless trip down memory lane and share with you my history with ‘personal listening devices’…
Panasonic RQ V-80
This wasn’t actually my first Walkman (well, Panasonic Personal Cassette Player); that one is lost to the mists of time. But this was what I used throughout my musically formative years. It was quite a fancy model for 1996, having both rewind and fast forward buttons. However, using either of these was such a drain on the battery that I rarely used them. At least it forced you to listen to albums all the way through, the way the artist intended. Very few people have nostalgia for anything to do with tapes, be they audio or video, but I do have fond memories of this player. Well, I suppose it’s more accurate to say that I have fond memories of the music I played on it. I came across some of my I old tapes and didn’t have the heart to throw away my copy of ‘The Best Album in the World Ever – Vol. 3’. I also kept my cassingle of Staind’s Swallowed, just to be ironic, or something.
Panasonic SL S310
As technology marched ever forward, I had to splash out on a portable CD player. This one was quite good for the time too, having a 10-second ‘Anti-shock’ function. Without this, CD players would go insane if anyone so much as touched them. This was useful, because I carried it absolutely everywhere with me. Despite its size, I could just about squeeze it into my coat pocket. In fact, I would wear a coat especially so I could take it with me. I used it all the way through my undergraduate years, which was a time of musical discovery for me. I first listened to Beck, The Pixies and Nick Drake on this. I used it for many years, but it eventually died whilst I was (uncharacteristically) listening to ‘My Chemical Romance’, presumably out of some kind of protest.
Creative MuVo TX
Ahh, my first Mp3 Player. My brother gave it to me for my birthday, and weirdly he thought it was worth spending an extra £10 on an extended warranty. I’ve no idea why, because the thing itself only cost about £30. Did he think I was really going to be using it for over three years? By this point, I hadn’t even bothered to rip most of my CD collection, so my musical choices were quite limited. The capacity of the player was limited too; it was only 128 MB. I used to listen to a lot of podcasts, as they’re low bitrate and I could cram a lot on there. I have almost no fond memories of this player, as it seemed tacky and outdated even when I was using it.
Creative Zen Vision:M
Realising that the MuVo was pretty limited, I wanted something a bit more future-proof. So I splashed out on this monolith. In the glass display case in Comet, it looked perfectly fine, but I had no way of knowing that it weighed as much as a house brick. It wasn’t exactly great for jogging. At 30 gigabytes of storage, I could comfortably hold all my mp3 collection at the time, but I always seemed to end up playing the same songs over and over again. One of my main reasons for buying it was the fact it could also play videos. But in all the time I had it, I didn’t play a single one. It wasn’t the most successful of purchases, but it served its purpose, which was to block out the noise of the braying hooligans on my bus ride to work. I actually still have a certain amount of nostalgia for this player, and didn’t have the heart to throw the thing away.
iPod Shuffle – 2nd Generation (1GB)
This is my current mp3 player and I really quite like it. The only problem is that it doesn’t have a screen, so I don’t know the name of the song that’s playing. As I seem to listen to music almost exclusively on my Shuffle these days, it means I don’t know the track listing of my newer albums. All in all though, it has a good mix of capacity and practicality. Like Goldilocks, I got it right third time.
Actually, I’m thinking of getting an iPod touch now…