Now I have to say that I was never ‘into’ music. I like listening to it. I have a very eclectic taste but never really bothered about who sung it or bought their album. I never really understood why the Beatles were loved so much, which I know makes me unusual. So in some ways the vinyl revival was always going to pass over me, but while listening to Chris Evans on the radio telling me that nothing sounds quite like vinyl, it did make me wonder, how?
I went back to my memories of vinyl. The scratches that ruined the sound. The difference in the players and speakers making the sound inconsistent. How could this experience of my own be so different to this revival group. The answer is of course that it wasn’t. They all heard the same sound that I did, but my experience of listening to music is just to have it in the background, while I did other things, like make my model fighter planes or reading Roy of the Rovers. I imagine Chris Evans and the vinyl revival posse have similar experiences to each other. Buying a record when it first came out. Reading NME(or other music magazines?) and discussing the latest bands and travelling to gigs to hear their bands live. The experience and therefore that pleasure, is what they are recapturing, not the sound that comes from the plastic disc. This is why they enjoy looking for the albums in the shops, taking the record home and listening to that record with friends or a drink. The sound though will be no better than downloading and playing on the latest speaker system in your house.
So can we use this vinyl comeback to explain our sentimentality to others things in the past? Do we remember our local communities where everyone was employed by one big employer and the men would meet in the pub for drinks after work and the evening. Where they would take their wives out on Saturday night, and their ‘tea’ would be on the table when they got home. Where education was not valued as highly, because there were always jobs around. You always went on the same holidays, because why would you go anywhere else when you always have a good time, at the same place, with the same people. For us it was Bridlington and Butlins that was alternated each year. We have this sentimentality and nostalgia that means we have fond memories of a time we were a community, where we looked out for each other and where families lived on the same street. Jobs were secure and people were outwardly happy. They felt happy because they were part of a group and they felt safe with this.
This is not how it was though. We were poor and had very little disposable income. One breakage of anything expensive could cause severe problems with debt. You didn’t own cars because you could not afford a car. Most did not own a house and judging by the photos, curtains were made and floorboards were a necessity, not a designer feature. Attitudes were openly sexist, racist and homophobic. Yet we hark back to these times because of the safety within our group, something that has become difficult to find recently.
We now tend to live away from our families. Different types of people live within our community, people we might not immediately connect with or understand. We travel further for work and change jobs more often. This leads to greater mobility in our local communities, which makes it more difficult to make ties and build relationships. Facebook was supposed to help this, but seems to have made us more insular within our area and more unwilling to accept the people around us. They are not who we grew up with; they do not identify with our experiences, as we do not with theirs. The isolation grows.
We find that we make or ‘like’ comments that agree with our own thoughts and so reinforce our views, even if there is no evidence to support it and because it has been read it is seen as true. If we say immigration is bad, enough times, people will believe it! No evidence, just enough people to say it and ‘like’ it, then it starts to become the truth.
It can be different though. I am part of a group. I have my work group, where we talk education. My sport group, where we talk how to get better at cycling and running. I follow my political twitter accounts, as well as the atheists, and see their comments. With all these groups I like to mix the talk with politics and religion and sport and life and I enjoy the mix of opinions and views and beliefs that come from that. I don’t always agree with people, but I like a good discussion and challenge about my views and theirs. Yet fundamentally, I listen and learn from a different perspective and try to understand why people think the way they do. I get out of ones groups mindset and think from another’s.
This is what we failed to do with Brexit, we built walls and we sat behind them and ignored evidence and fact and just went with what we heard anecdotally. This is dangerous and with the coming election we have to look at all the options, see opinions from others points of views and not become entrenched in a dogma because that is it what the group thinks. We should challenge our own group to have evidence and answers, and call them out if they do not.
Our politicians who would rather have a bad policy from themselves than welcome a good policy from the opposition, are not a party of government. It is bad for the parties, bad for democracy and bad for the country. We need to ensure whether we are digital or vinyl supporter, we listen to each others viewpoints and decide by the facts, not just what our group says. Then we can make the right choices for all.