IF the last couple months of what we can euphemistically refer to as ‘This, that and the other’ have taught me one thing, it is that I am definitely living in the past. I don’t mean in a ‘standing on one leg in tights playing a flute, Jethro Tull’ sort of way – although when I interviewed Tull frontman Ian Anderson, he dismissed my question if he was often recognised in public by the fact that he wasn’t often standing on one leg in tights and playing a flute in the vegetable section at Waitrose.
While almost everyone I know binge watched entire seasons of TV series and had back to back online movie marathons during lockdown, that option was not available to me. In case you are not aware, I live off grid in a beautiful cottage on the banks of a reservoir in the hills above Marbella.
Water is provided by a huge deposit tank and electricity by a generator. Much to the horror of city types that (briefly) visit, this lack of power at the flick of a switch and my frugal freelance wages means that I fire up the ‘genny’ only once or twice a day.
This means no fridge, no Wifi and no telephone. As the cottage dates back to the 19th century it has three feet thick walls to keep out the heat of summer and the cold of winter, but it also makes taking a call on the mobile something of a challenge, especially if it’s blowing a gale in December.
The lack of Wifi also helps me cement my ‘analogue in a digital world credentials’. With no Internet, I rely on DVDs for movie nights, and I recently underlined my ‘low tech Womble tendencies’, (‘making good use of the things that we find’ if you forgot the words to the 70s children’s TV classic) with two recent acquisitions.
The first was picking up a VHS player during a house move, as well as a huge number of 80s classic series and films on tape. I popped a cassette into the player on a test run and it immediately chewed it up and spat it out, instantly transporting me back to the technical tribulations of my teenage years in the 80s.
The second was an ‘old skool’ Hifi system, compete with tape deck and CD player. What I didn’t know when I collected it was that the CD was a multi-player system that held a staggering 200 discs. If you assume that each album has around 12 songs that gives me 2,000 tracks at a time.
With a huge grin on my face, I once again fired up the genny, hit ‘shuffle’ and let the random tunes from my early 90s version of an iPod wash over me.
With my low tech home entertainment system, I am indeed able to party like it’s 1999.
Now, does anyone have a fax machine or telex going spare?