Daily Vanish: Things that are vanishing from our daily life

December 16, 2013

Asides

This isn’t a post about museums per se, but about things that belong in a museum. Things that are vanishing from our daily life. A friend of mine, Sebastian Hartmann (you may remember him from his action figure collection in Collector’s Spotlight), last month asked people to contribute stories towards his blog parade* ‘Daily Vanish‘, which deals with exactly that topic, so I got my thinking cap on. What could I write about? There are so many things I grew up with which now, little more than 30 years later, are alien to my son. He is so used to talking with his grandparents via Skype on the iPad, that it confuses him to no end when Oma can’t see him holding up his new car for her on the regular telephone. A cordless telephone with a type pad and the ability to switch to loudspeaker. Very different from the first telephone I knew, with it’s rotary dial and corkscrew cord that kept getting tangled up. Those were the days you’d stand awkwardly balancing on one leg if a phone call took too long, rather than grabbing the receiver ad going to curl up in your favourite chair in another room.

daily vanish record player & globe

But back to the question which object I should choose for Daily Vanish. Shortly before Sebastian’s call to action, I had received an old fashioned turntable for my birthday. It’s not actually a vintage object at all, rather part of a wave of newly produced items with ‘retro appeal’, but fact is that turntables and records have long been superseded in popularity and are now the objects of desire for die hard fans rather than the mainstream. Though they seem to have fared better than the cassette tapes that came after them. But even the more CDs are now old news, in this age of digital media consumption. And while my new turntable may not be ready yet for a museum yet, this one certainly is:

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This beautiful gramophone specimen can be viewed at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Isn’t it just gorgeous? Sure, if I load up my portable mp3player it will keep supplying me with music for hours without the need to crank it up or turn over a record every 20 minutes. It won’t crackle or skip and I can balance out the bass if I want to. And I can take it with me whenever and wherever I go. And yet it still can’t compete with the experience of listening to music on an old gramophone or turntable, even if it is a newly invented one.

daily vanish crosley record player

As a teenager I had an all in one HiFi system which included a turntable and big external speakers. I later sold it due to space issues and because the sound quality actually wasn’t that great, and I got rid of most of my records too (the best ones had been borrowed from my parents anyway). I later regretted this – surely the more logical thing would have been to keep the records and look for a better turntable solution. So I was delighted when my husband surprised me for my birthday with this retro style specimen that has speakers built in. Old school record aficionados may turn their noses up at it, but it hits the nostalgia button for me and I like it just fine. Do you know the movie Moonrise Kingdom? That scene where the kids are sitting around their little ‘in a suitcase’ portable turntable listening to records together? Yes, that feeling!

daily vanish records

In my mind, some music was just made to be listened to on gramophones and turntables. Like Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington. I’m a little bit of a closet jazz fan, don’t you know (and yes, it sits just fine alongside my love for country music and Roxette, thank you very much). So one of the first weekend outings after this little turntable entered out lives was to a record store here in Berlin Kreuzberg, and my record collection has been growing again a little since then.

daily vanish turntable with record

#MuseumBaby has become a bit of a fan too. He’ll beg for us to “put the music on”, and then he’ll dance around the living room to the jazz rhythms of Louis and Duke. He finds the whole thing absolutely thrilling. Lately he’s been discovering my parents’ old Beatles records which they brought with them as a long term loan.

daily vanish record player

So really I’ve cheated a little with this whole ‘Daily Vanish’ topic, because although turntables and records vanished from my daily life, they have now made a re-entry. Maybe it’s not too late to not only preserve their memory, but make them part of the next generation’s living memory too. We’ve definitely sown the seeds with #MuseumBaby. Though I think old fashioned telephones may have lost the battle!

*A blog parade is a phenomenon particularly popular in Germany at the moment, where a blogger announces a specific topic and anyone is welcome to write about it on their own blog by a certain date. All posts are then linked back to the original blogger, who will often write a summary of the contributions at the end of blog parade’s run. 

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  1. Aufruf zur Blogparade “Dinge, die aus unserem Alltag veschwinden” #dailyvanish | MUSEUM & SOCIAL WEB - December 19, 2013

    […] Museum Diary/Jenni Fuchs: “Daily Vanish: Things that are vanishing from our daily life” […]

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