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No Crossed Wires…

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Driving around the other day, I happened upon a Radio channel which was hosting one of those daily phone-ins - this topic of which was ‘pet peevs’, and the little everyday things which grind our gears! 

Specifically, the conversation revolved around that oh-so irritating habit *in my opinion* that too many music-listeners seem to have, of pushing their playlists out for public consumption!

The bombilating bane of the boombox (and its smart-phone shaped spawn) is a subject that’s got me on my soapbox on more than a handful of occasions, hence the reason this particular phone-in had me hooked… 

Granted, I only caught the first half of the segment, but it coincidentally happened to be same half that would validate my opinion - that there is no more surreptitious torture, than a next-door neighbour with a penchant for too much bass! 

All this is, however, somewhat by the by, since it wasn’t long into listening to journalist Rebecca Reid’s argument on the matter, that a far more pressing point was made...

The subject?

The ‘lost joy’ of old-fashioned, wired headphones.

As Rebecca quite rightly pointed out, there was something delightfully ‘teenager’ish’ about these headphones, and in particular, how they helped many an angsty adolescent to blur the lines between sharing music...and flirting! 

When young love could be played out through the medium of a not-quite-long-enough CD Walkman lead… the magic was almost as palpable as the crackle of those dubbed-from-the-radio tracks.

Thinking about it, teenage (and adult) life is probably all the poorer for this particular foray into cordless culture, which made me realise…

What of all the other lost joys that ‘progress’ has pick-pocketed over the years, without my realising?

Like house phones, and those concertina cords that made fiddling and gossiping an art form!

Those wires - much like the headphone wires - were, on the face of it, quite liberating!

Maybe not literally, but certainly metaphorically, as being confined to one chair (and one room) in order to answer a call, would inevitably prevent phone-shaped distractions percolating into the sanctity of home… as they do now.

In the case of the headphones, the 'freedom' of wireless-ness is an equally double edged sword - the down sides of which extend way beyond the demise of courtship cliches!

Without the hassle of wires, tangled cassettes, scratched CDs and drained AA batteries…’headphones in’ becomes a default, allowing sound (music, podcasts, movies... etc) to gain a monopoly on our attention... and lives.

The result? There's never a reason to be un-entertained.

To be alone with our thoughts and surroundings.

To just... be!

This invisible cost of convenience, maybe puts the 'hassle' of headphone wires into a different perspective, and makes me think that perhaps it isn't the time to cut the tangled cord of my tech-shaped nostalgia... just yet!

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