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As you get older iconic brands of your youth die.

In the way that an older generation must lament the loss of the steam locomotives and Studebakers, more recent times have seen farewell to Kodachrome and the floppy disk.

Sony Walkman

It’s the Walkman’s turn.

Like millions of other kids I had a Walkman. A Sony, the real thing -not a knock-off.

It was only a little bigger than the hearing aid I had as a kid. A little wider, a little longer, and about twice as thick.

The sounds came not the world around me, but music I could take with me anyplace.

A portable bubble of sound I could enclose myself in.

Until the batteries ran out.

They ate batteries like a kid snacking on chocolate bars. Well, not quite, but you know what I mean. Longer trips away demanded spare batteries in case you lost your lifeline to portable bliss. You rationed salvation for fear of silent apocalypse.

You could hear when the music slowed down as the batteries faded away, too. Hard rockers would distort into grotesque crooners.

I don’t feel regret hearing of the demise of the clunky tape boxes.

Likewise, perhaps oddly, perhaps understandably – for a computer geek, that is – I have no emotional attachment to the floppy disk.

But Paul Simon’s song plays in my internal Walkman when my mind thinks of Kodachrome.

Kodachrome ties to my youth more strongly, I guess. My Dad, a photographer, taking us kids on weeks-long trips in the caravan getting material for his landscape books. Long hot summers that went on seemingly forever. (Waiting for him to take photographs sometimes felt like forever, too.) Sleeping in the awning, swimming in the Clutha. There’s memories.

Adios Walkman. You’re not missed.


Other articles in Code for life:

A dot in space and chromosomes

Local documentaries: NZ bats, Dunedin stadium and 1080

Dictionaries, the OED, and what do you use?

What is your relationship with your research notebook?

I remember because my DNA was methylated

Backups, part I