“You Can Only Find The Fast Times Here”
Analog: The New, Old-Skool Cool
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Picture this scene: you pop a tape into your brand new cassette player and jam out, untethered. You bounce to the beat of your personal soundtrack, feeling every pulse, bridge, and drop as you head over to the video store to return an ultra-rare copy of Heavy Metal Parking Lot on VHS.
But check it: it’s 2021, not 1985.
You’re not buggin’, ‘80s tech is back in biz. So what’s the dealio with kids demanding physical media after we worked so hard to build an automated world with robot vacuums, same-day drone deliveries, and more streaming services than actual cable channels? It all boils down to access, algorithms, & anticipation.
Access: the very reason The Black List’s Kate Hagen is currently cataloguing every video store on the planet.
Hagen explains that top film streamers (Netflix, Prime, Disney+) offer less than 30K feature films — combined. Compare this to Seattle’s Scarecrow (160K+ titles) and, well, you can’t handle the truth. Video stores offer a treasure trove of rare physical recordings, mash-ups, and single-edition gems, many not available anywhere else. So while options may feel endless as you scroll through the streaming vortex, corporate interests, complicated rights issues, licensing fees, diversity voids, and limited-run distro complications put real world vice grips on the quantity and quality of titles in streamers’ coffers.
Algorithms: AKA the cogs that drive your streaming thingys and prioritize content similarities based on your existing preferences.
“Suggested for you” is less about “you” and more about addictive engagement. This particular bag of tricks isn’tfor kids these days — young people are rejecting computerized sameness and opting for content authenticity, diversity, and equity, even if it means shopping offline. What’s more, video stores and record meccas peddle more than just access, they are thriving communities that serve up real human knowledge, personalized sampling, and authentic experiences that no machine can ever replicate.
Anticipation: that feeling when you sat with your finger on “record” because you were damn determined to catch “How Will I Know” on its maiden MTVvoyage.
Today’s kids grew up in a world of instant gratification: from food to fun, everything is a tap away. The cool kids are learning the true joy of anticipation through ‘80s tech and old-skool discovery — rewinding a VHS tape, loading a cassette, planning the next trip to Videodrome, digging through tapes at Criminal Records, all that jazz. Next thing you know, they’ll be pushing Taylor Swift cassettes. Oh wait...
AND THIS CONCLUDES OUR BROADCAST DAY
The cool thing to do now is exactly what we did decades ago — talk to humans about what they like, discover relics beyond the veil of rampant consumerism, and wait for our gizmos and gadgets to rewind, develop, print, load, and process while we spend some time feelin’ good that it’s 2021, we’re making independent choices as free souls with real personalities, and the machines still have yet to destroy humanity.
P.S.: before you dump that copy of “Cut” by The Slits, (yeah, the one with the original red case), check those receipts on Ebay.
P.P.S.: be kind, rewind.
The Mixtape: Vol. 1
A curated grab bag of pop culture happenings on the A-Side, deep cut goodness on the B-side. Served fresh every Monday morning, so your reality bites a little less.
Coming soon. You’re welcome.
NFTs: (noun), non-fungible tokens
NFTs are digital collectibles bought & sold over the Internet — think fine art, limited-release albums, and other hyper-exclusive, computer-based thingamabobs. Everyone’s going hella crazy over these things, taking us right back to the Cabbage Patch craze of ‘83.
While some players in the NFT market have an altruistic mission, the n’erdogoods see an opportunity for elitism and price gouging. Either way, these digital artifacts are supposedly impervious to piracy (a drag for Napster...), making investors feel better when dishing out the dough.
Still dazed & confused? You just gotta keep livin’ man.
#Girlboss: no longer en vogue
1980s have-it-all ambition told us that success came to ‘girls’ with a head for business and a bod for sin. Womendonned power suits and clocked-in well beyond 9 to 5 to topple the patriarchy’s grip on corporate America.
Fast-forward to 2014. Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amaruso, reinvigorated a new generation of female entrepreneurs with her memoir, #GirlBoss. The term went nuclear overnight — then came ‘Mompreneur’, ‘Boss Babe’, and ‘She-E-O’.
Hit pause. It’s now 2021 and the #GirlBoss label is about as cool as… well, shoulder pads.
OK, HERE’S THE SITUATION
The yute are saying it’s beyond time to ditch the cutesy titles. ‘Mom’, ‘CEO’, ‘Founder’, ‘#Boss’ are sufficient. And let’s not forget that glass ceilings shatter better together.
“It’s time the world sees that a bad boss is a bad boss and a good boss is a good boss, regardless of age or gender.” Hillary Hoffower, Business Insider
“Kids in America”
Kim Wilde’s debut single sold 60K copies on day one, prompting the suits to quickly pull the smash hit from the top charts because they thought a scam was afoot…
40 years, 3M+ copies, and many, many covers later, “it still has the same potency it had back in 1981” Wilde tells Louder.