I was over on Cheryl’s site and her post on dreams coming true made me think.
Back in the pre-digital age life was very different. I am a record collector who had no money but adored vinyl records and Rock, Blues, Folk, Reggae and R&B. Every Saturday I would head off into town and go round the second-hand record shops hunting out gems. They were few and far between. I usually came back with a handful of OK stuff but rarely a real capture. But that was the fun of the hunt. When you did come across one of those great albums there was a real jump of joy. My expertise in recognising it and luck at finding it gave me a real adrenaline rush.
Every Saturday I’d go home with my cheap but exciting hoard of discs, study them, read the covers while playing them, and really enjoy the whole process. Those vinyl albums were loved and enjoyed.
Apart from that there was the social side. Every week I would meet up with a similar bunch of nuts engaged in the same exercise. There was a competitive edge and sharing of enthusiasms. We show each other our captures, do swaps, discuss them in depth and enjoy the whole process. There was a lot of fun and laughter.
A lot of my friends were music nuts too. We’d get together to play and talk about music. It was the focus of everything in life. All of life was reflected in that music, either in the lyrics or music or associated with the times. The whole universe was reflected in those discs.
I used to dream of being able to get my hands on all those hundreds of albums that I lusted after. That seemed like heaven.
Now we have digital, ebay and Amazon. Every album is available at the push of a button. The dream has come true (at a price). Some of the financial value has gone down. Some have gone up. But all the second-hand record shops have gone. There is no thrill of the hunt anymore or fun of chasing down a bargain. I no longer meet up with all my friends and paw over our finds. Neither do I meet up with friends and play music anywhere near as much. The albums are simply not valued as much as they were. Even the rarest is available at the press of a button any day. It has cheapened them and the music. Where some of my friends developed great knowledge and spent a lifetime on a mission to put together a collection (one was trying to accumulate every Chess Label single and had tracked down all but three) that was no longer a challenge. Imagine, back then, the thrill of, after having spent thirty years hunting, discovering one of those three singles? Now you can go on line and find them all in twenty minutes. The thrill has gone. Not only that but someone with no knowledge or real feeling for the music can download every track ever recorded by Chess Records on to their phone with the push of a button. It means nothing.
Dreams coming true can be a real loss.