Back to the future

A young friend of mine came over to see me last weekend, and during the course of dinner, we got talking about what sorts of music and films he liked to watch.

To my astonishment, rather than list contemporary popular groups and movies that I would probably never have heard of anyway, he told me that he much preferred to listen to pop groups from the 1960s! And as for films, he said that he enjoyed watching films from the 1940s and 1950s rather than the ones that were on offer at the local picture palace.

Naturally enough I was rather intrigued. After all, in my youth, I had grown up listening to such music as well as watching endless films from a decade or so earlier, since at the time they were the staple diet of television programming.

Back then, of course, I would never have listened to 40-year-old music as my young friend was doing today. I can’t imagine what appeal there would have been in jazz bands or black-and-white silent films from the 1920s when compared with more contemporary fare. So naturally enough, I was fascinated to discover what my young friend found so appealing about such music and films.

He was quite forthright. He said he had no time for modern music simply because it was stilted and unoriginal. He said that far too much of it relied on synthetic sounds and electronic enhancements with the result that it was totally unappealing. In part, he blamed the widespread use of technology as one of the reasons for the demise in the music’s inventiveness.

He was no less scathing in his opinion of modern films. Since the extensive deployment of computer graphics technology, he felt that many modern animated features themselves had become lifeless, with stereotyped characters that behaved with monotonous uniformity, following pilot lines that were stilted and hackneyed.

He didn’t much care for the contemporary blockbusters either. He felt that they too had become no more than an excuse for special-effects teams to illustrate their ability to create computer-controlled mayhem around which a thin plot and a bunch of bad acting had been wrapped.

He was even more damning in his criticism of all things three dimensional. These, he felt, were actually no more than one-dimensional monstrosities whose simple goal was to enhance the revenue of the film companies rather than enhance the experience of the viewer.

Undoubtedly, the sad fact of the matter is that the sophisticated electronic and computer technologies used to generate modern music and films has been, at least partially, responsible for creating the stultifying nonsense we are fed today.

But who would have believed that the use of such technologies would have also actually alienated a member of the younger generation who are – after all – the very target audience that the music industry and the film studios are trying so desperately to woo with their wares.

Best wishes,

Dave Wilson
Editor, Electronicstalk

Dave’s comments form part of the weekly Electronicstalk newsletter, which also includes a round-up of the latest electronic products and services for engineers. To subscribe click here