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August 10, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

The good old days

When I go to the video store to get a $1 weekly special, I first take it to the counter. I put it in my bag, go home with my snacks, and insert it in my laptop. Autoplay kicks in. I skip past the warning—I don’t even need to watch the piracy anymore, even though in VCRs you used to be able to still see the bright yellow writing on blue background or red on black as time went on. And I proceed to watch my chosen movie. Then I realise—the quality of this film is way too much like reality. But did I want reality?

I’m going to make a bold statement here. I like VHS. I prefer it. It seems more present, there is a substance to it. Yes, it may be more grainy and the audio may lack, but at least it is separate to reality. It is like a model of a plane as opposed to just a life-sized replica, authentic looking plane.

There is something I believe which we connect with when we put on a vinyl record of Neil Young, or when we plug in our Sega Megadrive and insert the cartridge. It is not quite the same as lightly touching a screen or clicking your mouse for your one thousand arcade games on your Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (M.A.M.E.). Yes, I like to be able to push select on my analogue controller and pretend that I’m inserting coins as I play my nostalgic Ghost and Goblins. But in exchange for what?

I mean, how many songs do you actually listen to on your I-DEADs? 50,20,100?

Personally, I like to go with the iBox.

What the hell is an iBox, you may say? Or you may be saying, who the hell is this guy?

Hi, my name’s Dallas, and this is my column—Deep thoughts with Dallas. Welcome reader.


By Dallas McKinley

The iBox is an ingenious device which is a Black Box. And if you are lucky, it will have a hinge that is still connected. There within are dividers meticulously and evenly spaced throughout the inner chambers of that which is the iBox. Once finding an empty iBox from any good second hand land, you then carefully begin to select your playlist. Now choosing your tapes is very important, as some of those road trips to Wanganui are quite long. So only fill your IBox with music that you are ready to listen to more than once.

My iBox
Happy Mondays—Bummed
Dire Straits—Brothers in Arms
Lou Reed—New Sensations
Queen—A Kind of Magic
Janis Joplin—Greatest Hits
The Pixies—Death to the Pixies
Falco—Falco 3
Frank Sinatra—The BIg Band Collection
Soundgarden—Down on the Upside
Devo—Oh no it’s
Talking Heads—Little Creatures
The Black Crowes—Shake your Money Maker
Neil Young—Harvest Moon
The Stone Roses—Second Coming
Music inspired by Star Wars and other Galactic funk
Guns n Roses—Use your illusion I
Led Zeppelin—Coda
Bob Marley and the Wailers—Legend
Cypress Hill—Black Sunday
Split Enz—History Never repeats
Happy Mondays—Squirrel and G Man
Twenty four hour Party People—Plastic Face Carnt Smile White Out (actual title, I think Shaun William Ryder came up that one).

No more touch screens and dials.

From here on you will be able to actually grab a cassette/memory maker from its sheath and slide it in your cassette player, and before you can say B-O-H-E-M-I-A-N R-H-A-P-S-O-D-Y you will be greeted by a warm homely sound that your ears will aurally take much delight in.

(Mental note: make sure you have a pair of tweezers on you for when a tape gets stuck in your player as “Road to nowhere” can become rather wearisome though, Byrne is a melodic genius).

And there you have it—the iBox. No need to charge it. No worrying about missing data. Your only enemy is the sun and maybe the occasional cannibalistic tape player that eats its young, or in this case, the tape itself.


So what is it that may draw us back into this womb that first birthed us into our audio visual worlds? A place where we first suckled on the breast of an earlier media which has now mostly become obsolete?

Maybe it will be our childhood, or a memory of not so long ago?

Maybe it’s finding that age-old affinity of when man and technology enjoyed one another as opposed to this use and abuse of one another, relationship, that we now find ourselves in?

When we no longer find the solace of inserting our cassette, laying our favourite record, or putting our VHS into our VCR.

I believe we lose something.

Maybe we are no longer being entertained by technology—maybe in fact we are the entertainment to technology?

Now who’s pushing play?


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Comments (6)

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  1. dd says:

    hi dallas!

    i’m dee dee…

    thanks for your thoughts :)

  2. matt says:

    Matt says, matt says, nice nice mr. Dallas. Perhaps we are suddenly caught in an abusive relationship with technology. How do we get out, it started only when technology was drunk, but now it’s hitting us nearly every night. I want to get out for my kid’s sake.

  3. Michaela says:

    Hey Dal….your writing is back and more extreme and ecentric. love it. well done man. Micky ox

  4. Dallas says:

    DD- choice. walang problema
    Matt- call 0800 TECHNOLOGY IS HURTING ME. just do your best with the times given you my man.
    Michaela- Gracias Mickalyala

    stay tuned for more mind wanderings.

  5. grant says:

    i like your quirky explorative digression dal, it reminds me of your deep talent. these technologies will live side by side, a coexistance where folks like you and i can slap on the old daddy cool tape and feel proud of older technologies, sounds, simple things and well thanks for your thoughts man

  6. Dallas says:

    Merci Amigo. yes bring back…no bring here as opposed to trying to get back to teh good old days lets make today good. with neil and the gang, filling our aural caverns with delights and sonic searings.

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