Apparently retro is in this Christmas and not a moment too soon for yours truly, someone who is so far from being hip that eventually fashion catches up to me, and then passes me by again in a flash.
On Thursday night we put up the Christmas tree (I know, it’s kind of late but see last week’s column for context), so of course I dug out the seasonal CDs to put on my Technics six-disc player (circa sometime last millennium) and soon the strains of The Tractors and Elvis Presley floated out of the giant Technics speakers at the side of our entertainment centre enclosed in a nice piece of oak furniture.
Piled next to one of the speakers is a collection of vinyl records, which we had to move to get the tree in place, all individually wrapped in protective plastic I got off a guy I used to know who worked in a record store (remember those?).
If I was really old school I would’ve got out actual Christmas records but my rather extensive collection of vinyl doesn’t actually include that genre, although I do have some cassettes of seasonal greetings, and, yes, my entertainment centre includes a double cassette deck and, of course, a turntable, which gets lots of use thank you very much.
Anyway, according to The Province last Sunday, there’s a retro resurgence going on out there that includes comebacks for vinyl records, pinball machines, classic toys, board games, wrist watches and “print books,” which apparently is what they’re calling real books these days, you know, with covers and pages and stuff.
I think that’s key. It’s stuff you can actually touch, and take ownership of, and is, well, real and will last for eons. No batteries required.
Now don’t get me wrong. The digital age is here to stay and they’ll be plenty of cell phones and iPads and such under the trees this year and that’s mostly a good thing, as technology has changed and will continue to change our lives, largely for the better, almost on a daily basis.
But sometimes, especially us older types, want to get off the fast lane called life these days and indulge in some romantic, nostalgic time that harkens back to simpler days.
Now I’m not a totally “Why do they have go changing everything?” type quite yet but I have to admit I’m cool with a bit of a retro revolution.
One of my kids started playing some of my records awhile back and I thought that was cool and he’s even purchased some new stuff on vinyl, mostly rap so no danger of me listening to it but still it’s cool that artists are once again putting music out on LPs.
In fact, if I was very generous, and really wanted to tap into the retro craze this year, I’d wrap up a dozen or so of my favourite albums and put them under the tree for him.
However, I’m not that generous and they mean too much to me and then I’d have to get him his own turntable when he moves out and he won’t take care of them like I do and….ahem, ho, ho, ho.
Anyway, I believe in books in print too, not to mention black-and-white-and-read-all-over newspapers, ahem, and board games too.
My extended family is into board games as well, especially at Christmas time. There will be a few hard-fought games of Scrabble this coming week, as well as likely Scattergories, Balderdash and maybe even the time-tested cribbage.
Certainly the kids will spend too much time on their phones over Christmas as well, and echoes of video games will be heard from time to time, and there will likely be electronic gifts to marvel over and leave us wondering “what’s next?” – but hopefully there’s time for boisterous board games and a little quiet time to follow to read that new hardcover book we got for Christmas.
So, however you and yours choose to celebrate this season, make it merry and safe, and if you can, let the soundtrack be on vinyl. Or eight-track, or at least cassette. Happy holidays.