You are here

Analogue nostalgia

By Jean-Claude Elias - Apr 05,2018 - Last updated at Apr 05,2018

It is perfectly possible to work in the field of high-tech — and to love it, absolutely — and at the same to feel nostalgic about some of the old analogue ways. This is a legitimate feeling, triggered by the sometime excessive use of digital in virtually everything we do every day.

The feeling is further exacerbated by the fact that we know there is more to come, much more actually; if only driverless cars and unmanned drone-taxis. Not everything that can be digitised has been digitised
at this point in time.

What recently triggered my personal nostalgia was the rotary dial phone repeatedly used in the movie “Dial M for Murder”, Alfred Hitchcock’s’ classic that I was watching again, maybe for the third or fourth time. Whereas we did use rotary dials at home and at work till about the mid-1980s, it is more the sweet memory of the old units that were operated in our parents and grand-parents houses that brings up the yearning feeling. Today it seems unbelievable that we really used to dial telephone numbers this way to make a call.

One of the biggest controversy that continues to oppose the worlds of analogue and digital may well be digital musical instruments. Despite huge progress achieved, in digital pianos in particular, countless classical pianists still consider the natural, wooden instrument to be infinitely superior in terms of performance and sound. Is this based on pragmatic facts and solid technical characteristics or is it just a sentiment? After all we are only humans.

And what about reading e-books and reading the news and everything else on the web? A colleague of mine admitted that he had not held a real hardcopy printed book — a novel in this case  — in his hands in more than five years. He told me that he was really moved and felt that something unusual but beautiful was happening to him when he started reading the novel. Tablets, e-books, web reading on a computer or smartphone screen, along with a few printed newspapers have been his daily routine, no traditional books at all, several years on.

It is again in the movies that we feel strangely sentimental when we see a bulky CRT black and white TV set. It is hard not to smile and to start reminiscing. It is also there that we still have the chance to see a person enter a small grocery store and buy goods from a real person, someone who would never tell you “there’s an app for that” or who will redirect you to some online shopping for more convenience.

Those who have never developed an analogue photo in a darkroom and saw the image slowly, almost magically appear on the white sensitised paper, thanks to the chemical process, just do not know the feeling. Purists would rather say film photography instead of analogue photography. Regardless of the terminology, today seeing the picture appear on a screen immediately after it has been being taken makes some of us pensive, depending on your age, naturally.

For the young generation the term roadmap can only have one meaning: “a plan or strategy intended to achieve a particular goal”. It can in no way be “a map, especially one designed for motorists, showing the roads of a country or area”. There are GPS devices and mobile apps for that. Those were the days…

Whatever the intensity of the nostalgia, none of us would want go back in time, not for a billion dollars. Besides, it usually is just a temporary feeling! Who would be crazy enough to give up smartphones and the web, to name only these two technological wonders? Being able to communicate instantly, with text, live sound, photo and video image feed, with any friend or relative, anywhere in the world, any time, is priceless.

Those who may be reading this and who are say 30 and younger must be thinking “What the hell is he talking about? What analogue ways?”

278 users have voted.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
8 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.



Tuesday 23 July 2019


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.