Was there life before the Internet & social networking
I was listening to the radio and the interviewer spoke to two girls who had been born in the mid-nineties.
It was a programme about how buying and enjoying music had changed and how with tracks were now just a click download away, it was difficult to get into the heart and soul of a performer like Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen or the Incredible String Band
(who?). Kids listen to single tracks and then move on. The music savvy do persist and buy the albums but the days of the long playing record (what IS that?) are heading for that great record library in the sky.
\"I was amazed,\" said one girl, \"My dad's got things called LPs and they're huge. What do you do with them?\"
The girls were born at the same time as the Internet age was moving up a gear. They could not imagine life without being able to go online, in the same way that the Victorians and peoples of that era all over the world marvelled at the internal combustion engine or powered flight.
I had to check myself to avoid tweeting that the first record I ever bought was a 78rpm called 'Rock Around The Clock' by Bill Haley and the Comets (the first performer to introduce rock 'n' roll although it derived from black music) because it would age and date me (I was very, very young).
Other differences came to light during the programme that was comparing the lives of young people in the fifties and sixties with the present. Kids don't play in the streets any more (too much traffic, too dangerous); they don't roam around in gangs across the countryside, fishing in streams, scrumping apples (stealing from orchards), inventing physical games from their imaginations. Political correctness and fear of abduction or worse strike fear into the hearts of parents everywhere. There was probably just as much nastiness (even worse) in days gone by.
Books are now instant and on tap, downloadable in a trice. And what are kids reading by the cyberspace load? Vampire romances, stories about paranormal hunks with cleft chins and red-stained teeth. But, in truth, this is nothing new. All we can hope is that e-books will co-exist with real books that you can touch and smell.
Writers from history would probably be at the forefront of the e-book 'revolution'. I am sure Shakespeare, Proust, Henry James, Mickey Spillane and O'Henry would have taken to cyberpulp like ducks to water.
We are all being swept along the floodplain of time and tide embracing new ideas and ditching outmoded systems.
As long as we never lose our sense of wonder and our sense of fun and kids of all ages don't forget how to play and enjoy life without looking over their shoulders.