My Shocking Reaction to ‘Kids React to the Walkman’


Aargh,

If there was ever a reason to sterilise the population then surely this is it.

Earlier this year, there was an episode of ‘Kids React to…’ hosted by the FineBros on youtube

If you’re not aware, the premise is young kids are given an object or topic and are asked to give their unique perspectives on it.

Sounds pretty lame in all honesty but the FineBros have made a career out of these, now having one of the highest number of subscriptions on youtube.

Youtube constantly puts these types of videos it in my feed since they’re popular but I’ve generally managed to ignore them. This specific week though, the kids were given a Walkman/cassette player to give their two cents over.

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I found myself intrigued to watch it for the first time and to be frank, I kinda wish I hadn’t as I’m now shopping for weapons of mass destruction on ebay.

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weapons of mass destruction.

I now firmly believe if there was ever a reason to kill kids, this would be it.

Have a snoop and see what you think

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Flabbergasted

I am so shocked as to how unaware all these kids were to this type of technology.

Surely it’s not that old

I think what got me was their inability to open it and also the fact they couldn’t recognise what the earphones were supposed to do, especially during this BEATS generation ,where the style of headpiece now represents a contemporary take on the old head gear.

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Furthermore, they were so damn rude about it, have they no respect for what that device meant to those who grew up in the 80s and 90s?.

I grew up with the tape and my parents grew up on vinyl, I would never laugh and chuckle at a vinyl they way these kids did at tape, further more I was never far removed from it, At their ages, My parents still played Vinyl so I recognised what they were and knew  how to play and handle them no probs (well I wouldn’t say ‘no probs’, I scratched the fuck outta plenty of them and got beaten for it but you know what I mean).

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Has the leap in technology been so advanced that it’s accepted young kids will be none the wiser to devices like these?

I’m just so shocked at how gadgets of the last ten years has made everything before it seem so redundant. The digitization of music, the ability to play it off countless devices and the access to almost every commercial song ever made at a press of a button looks like it’s caused these kids to go softer than Pele’s penis.

I mean these whipper snappers will never understand the struggle of the Bacon, this in-bred bastard lived in a place where music was fucking banned for the love of chips? He would have gone mental if anyone stole his tape player. It was his and many other’s first chance at escapism.

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What I also find weird is while a modern day child can grasp the notion of high tech future, no worries at all, you plonk them into a relatively low tech environment and you would think they’d been cast into the stone age. Based on this, I wonder whether they’d be rendered completely useless if handed a mobile phone with actual buttons on it or would starve if given an old fashioned tin opener and a can of food.

The best way I can evoke this phenomenon is the modern consoles

Put a xbox one game in an xbox one console and it will run like a dream, no hitch.

Give it an original xbox game and watch that sunovabitch sweat like an alcoholic pulled over on Christmas Eve.

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I mean is the Walkman that dated a concept?

Perhaps I could foresee some issues if they had used a minidisc player since it never really took off (in fact, I only know one person ever to have bought one). I doubt many people  at the time knew much about them in all fairness.

And sure if they had done this experiment with a discman, there would be no issues  since people are still familiar with cds from games, dvds and blue rays etc, I’m sure people still buy physical albums as well so that wouldn’t trip up the averae kid

So it still bugs me as to why the tape is so alien to them

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The Genius of the Tape

This entire ep made me feel nostalgic about my cassette players of the past. I remember my very first tape player, the Fischer Price one, with the microphone, great times were had and I didn’t even understand the significant of the gift bestowed upon me then, that would come literally decades later.

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I mean the tape player was the shit, portable music, you could take anywhere with you and use it as a portal to literally disappear into your own world with. It arguably did for music what the book did for literature. Some would argue more as the tape was ultimately your template to use and build as you see fit.

Here are some retro moments we all experienced with it and the cassette tape in general

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  • The players with only the fast forward option so you had to take it out and fast forward it then put it back in if you wanted to listen to a song again and the minutes you’d spend trying to get back to the exact start of a song
  • After a while of that guessing bullshit, you’d start guessing how long it takes to rewind to within a couple of seconds of the start in one go
  • That green halo bit to tell you where to plug your earphones into
  • The lack of an ‘on’ button and how you used to turn it on (or at least the radio funciton) by turning up the volume.
  • If you held it open and pressed play and rewind, you’d see one of those spinning things going round and round, you’d then put your finger in between it and feel this weird sensation
  • The way the music would slow down as the batteries started to die,
  • Rather than changing all the batteries at once, you’d do them one at at time, seeking out the weakest link each time
  • Anyone ever try to charge a battery in sunlight only to have it explode and leak out all its innards in your walkman?
  • The fact that if you wanted to ruin someone’s tape, you would pull a little section out and keep going like a mad man till there was tape everywhere, haha
  • If you had a beast of a player and and old tape the force of the rewinding could cause the tape to snap, losing all your shit 😦
  • Putting your tape on at a party when the current music playing is lame-o-licious
  • You could unscrew that bitch, open it up and delicately thread that tape you love so much back together although it’d sound like shit in the looped over bit
  • That joy or recording things in real time and if you had a advanced tape deck, you could record in super fast speed and be considered a god, or even record from the radio onto TWO separate tapes at once
  • The moment people realised your mix tape was awesome and you started going into mass production of them, thinking you’re Motown records or something
  • Those beautiful chunky buttons on the top, the spastic proof ones you could determine what they did without looking that made that lovely clunking noise
  • Those fluffy earphone bits that always managed to fall off (never both together, normally just one) and you’d get this weird metallic music feel as the bare phone scraped against your naked ear
  • The first time you tangled up the headphone wires and didn’t know where to put them when you were finished
  • The first time you wore a head set around your neck and looked cool, with the adjustable bit
  • The first time you put the head gear over your eyes and pretended to be Geordie La Forge from star trek the next generation
  • The ‘lean-in’ you would always try and get when a friend was listening to something cool and you wanted listen in on it
  • The ‘lean-in’ you’d always hope a girl gave you  wanting to listen to your tunes and you’d act all cool about it when it was a big deal.
  • The sharing of music on long school coach trips
  • You wanting to record over a legitimate music tape you bought and jamming some tissue in the corner sensor bit to allow you to record over it, haha
  • Buying a see through cassette tape and watching the tape move from one side to the other while rewinding fastforward it
  • Putting a pen in the tape hole to help rewinding back to place after going in a mess everywhere
  • Clipping a cassette player onto your trousers and thinking you were super cool for it
  • The first people to jog and exercise with their players, not realising half the workout was lumping that thing around.
  • The cool little cassette boxers where you would write in your best handwriting all the tracks on the tape to show it off to anyone who was interested and the ‘name of your tape on the spine’ usually Novembre Pleut winter mix 2 or something shit like that
  • Sneaking one of the smaller earphones up your sleeves at school and listening to music in class while being incognito and you thought you were a superhero when everyone could hear how long your music was turned up
  • The Joy of plugging in a microphone and having your own instant karaoke bar or thinking you were a pop start and actually recording yourself sing and do other shit
  • Pretending to be a news reporter with the fischer price gear
  • The shock of hearing what you REALLY sound like to other people for the first time playing back yourself being recorded haha
  • Putting the microphone to the speaker to hear that ‘HORRENDOUS’ feedback squeel noise oh it was terrible
  • Trying to record things off the telly by putting the microphone up to the tv speaker, achieving some dubious results.
  • Plus you had adverts like this at the time (yes, not quite music cassettes but close enough)

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I could literally go on and on reminiscing about all those unique experiences it gave me. I could happily fap happily while doing so too

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Tape length limitation makes song choices crucial

When the kids were told the dinosaurs could only fit a maximum of 90 minutes of music onto a tape, with the owner unable to start and stop a song of their choosing and having to listen to music in the order it was recorded in, most of them flipped out.

Some wanted to donate money to charity, hoping no one on this planet would have to go through another christmas with just 90 minutes of a a preordained song selection available.

I would say that was one of the tape’s biggest selling points, play order become important and you had to be selective in choosing songs you wanted. Tape space was a valuable real estate and it was essential you used every inch in the production of the perfect mixtape.

Songs would flow from one to another, either capturing an emotion or gently flowing accross a theme of your choosing. Even the most novice of mixtape makers could spend hours describing why their tapes are masterpieces in musical story telling.

You would pray to the gods of music that whilst recording, the last song on a side wasn’t too short to give you that dead space of doom, nor was it too long that it would cut before it played out. Both were considered social taboos, capable of ostracizing your current status and relegating you to an unreliable noob.

For the creation of one of these bad boys was an artform in its own right. Being able to create the perfect tape could escalate you to godhood and in a time when funds were limited, it was also easy way of keeping a very special lady thinking of you all day.

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Devices today offer you much more though.

You could hear a tune while out,  get out an app to find out what  it is, go to the itune store and download it immediately.
By the time a tape has finished recording a three minute song, you could have downloaded the entire music history of a given artist and integrated all the tunes into your various playlists.

It’s a real bitch.

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All that glitters isn’t gold

That’s the thing though, with infinite option does not come infinite variety.

The majority of people still listen to almost the same amount of songs now as their predecessors did. The rest (and I don’t care what anyone says) ceases to be music and just becomes background noise. The personal relationship between the consumer and the consumed has died.

It’s no wonder that this is the first year in history that no album has sold more than a million copies, contemporary music no longer holds that weight with people and is just becoming contemporary noise

Just like those people who buy 100s of dvds, the majority of those will get watched a maximum of 5 times in their life with many not getting more than a single view (especially box sets, we are really bad for that).

Even though our ability to store information may grow, we are still limited by the amount of things we can focus our interests on, that’s always going to be finite.

Besides, if you put 20,000 songs on your playlist, you’re going to have to wait a while to get to those 200 odd ones you like at any given point in time on your shuffle playlist

You’ll actually spend more time looking for songs than actually listening to them, just like those channel surfers with cable/satellite tv or even Netflix,  How often do I find people still watch the same shit when given thousands and thousands of options to pick from? Or worse, complaining there’s nothing to watch at all.

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You never had that dilemma with tapes. you wore the shit outta them before you ever got bored with them, it was just this ever evolving beast and we were all part of this expressive movement

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False possession is 9/10ths of the law

You also had the ingenious ability to record off the radio, this was the birth of the average consumer music pirate, fuck all that easy internet bullshit we have today. This shit was too legit to quit.

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Yoy’d be sitting there with finger cramp, waiting tentatively for your favourite song to come on, hoping to catch it without too much faffing at the start. Further more if the DJ was nice, they would guess there were a mass of people waiting to press record and kindly count you in so you didn’t miss anything or you’d get a ‘rewind’  shout a little bit in and they’d take the song back to the start.

You’d then record onto your ‘record’ tape, tentatively waiting to see where it would fit into your collection tapes and carefully edit it in accordingly.

Nowadays it is almost impossible to get an impromptu recording of anything, I wouldn’t even know how to record off the radio in its digital format. And broadcasters make us feel good because they keep shows on their site for a week to listen to in our own leisure, personally, i’d rather stay up all night to catch it and have it forever in the form I want, wouldn’t you?

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The greatest Walkman related sob story of all time

I think the reason this video irks me so much is my own personal relationship with the Walkman.
I always thought that the Sony and Panasonic ones that came out circa, 1992-1995 (again 10-15 years before the birth of any of these kids), were the coolest things ever. I would spend hours coveting them in the back of the Argos catalogues, praying for the day when I would have my very own.

Infact, it was on my 14th birthday, the last birthday where I got a legitimate present, I was asked what I wanted and I knew my answer immediately

it was a  Walkman version of Knight Rider,

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The Panasonic RQ-X11

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My folks agreed immediately without a huff or puff. Infact, we pretty much went to Argos straight away and it was mine within the hour. success

Now this product was the shit

  • sleek design
  • It had a pressure sensor single tab remote control
  • It only used one battery and came with a rechargeable battery and charger
  • It had this sexy swivel lock design
  • You could change play direction with a touch of a button
  • It had this super awesome base function at  the touch of a button
  • It would recognise the breaks in music as beginnings/ends of songs so you could fast forward to the next or rewind back and repeat with a single button touch.
  • It had a battery power sensor to tell you how much energy you had left
  • The battery housing was on the inside  in a secret compartment, so the whole thing looked space age
  • The earphones had a volume controller on it
  • It had a button pad lock function so it wouldn’t fiddle about in you pocket
  • It would automatically play the other side without you needing to take it out
  • It was super robust and would work in a nuclear holocaust situation

To this day it’s still the greatest fucking musical device I’ve ever owned. Infact, I had many a great many  years with it until the locking mechanism jammed and I thought it was a goner.

At the time though, I was quite fascinated with fixing things and would usually be there with a screw driver and a sharp knife opening up video cassette players and cassettes in order to tinker with them. So after a while I thought why the hell not, so I started tinkering with the locking mechanism and managed to fix it (ish). This made my ownership of the cassette player even deeper and it was quickly one of my favourite things ever, especially since I started making mix tapes of justice and listening to Janet Jackson albums I had recorded off my friend’s cd on tape

So my cassette player and I would never part, that was until I went to Nigeria one summer and my cousin saw me with it and got jealous. I think we had already agreed that some of the Nintendo games I had brought from the UK would stay with him but like always, you always want  what you can’t have the most.

Then my mom asked me to give it to him. I genuinely think I glared at her with my ‘Fuck Off’ look. I only say that because she soon realised that she was flogging a dead horse in order to get this act of kindness from me.

But for some reason unbeknown to myself, on the day we were leaving to depart to the UK, something must have changed in me, as I gave it up without anyone asking. Kindness seemed to just flow out of me.

Anyone that says ‘acts of Kindness leave you feeling all warm and gooey inside’ is a FUCKING LIAR I tell you because that act still bugs me to this day.

I hated the fact he wouldn’t love and care for it as I would. To be honest, I would still be using it to this day if I hadn’t given it up. I hate that irking feeling that it was thrown away weeks later for not being able to operate the lock mechanism and discarded like a used diaper with no care in the world.

The worst thing is if I was put in the same situation, i would probably do the same thing but even more begrudgingly since I know how much I still want it and miss it.

Having a conscience is rubbish, absolutely rubbish

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I’m being an old hypocrite

I’m not sure why I’m making a deal about this, I would have been writing the same thing about the Walkman as I am about the modern mp3 player if I was born say… 30 years earlier. it’s just a shame that the tape has gone but vinyl has stayed, I really did love the tape player. I guess it was my own first taste of individual mobile freedom Being able to listen to what i want, where I want and having no one being able to control that.

It’s an amazing feeling

I guess everyone takes it for granted but if it wasn’t for things like the walkman, the world today with the range of portable games,  information, communication and entertainment, sometimes found in a single device simply wouldn’t be possible.

Maybe a little time should be spent honouring our humble beginnings rather than blindly firing ourselves into the technological unknown.

As they say, Joni Mitchell never lies

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Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone

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That reminds me, I’ll go listen to that now.. on tape…..on my walkman

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Fuck,just remembered, stupid cousin got my walkman,after i take out the kids, he’s next,grrrr..

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