Published Jun 30, 2009In what may be the coolest pop culture related social experiment ever, the BBC convinced a 13-year-old to swap his iPod for a Sony Walkman, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this week, for seven days. The results are nothing short of hilarious, as the teenager comes to the conclusion that he knows little about the technologies of yesteryear.
For example, it took the teen, named Scott Campbell, three days to realise he could flip a tape over and listen to the other side of it (this must have been a pre-auto-reverse Walkman). He thought the "metal/normal" switch referred to equalizer settings for heavy metal and "normal" music. (Heck, for what it's worth, none of us really knew when to use that switch anyway.) And he was even taken aback by the size and dull grey colour of the Walkman.
Most noticeably, Campbell (who co-edits Net News Daily ) received stares and insults shouted at him from passersby, says Wired.
However, he did point out one particularly gnarly feature of the Walkman: dual headphone jacks, so you and your pal can both plug in and listen to the tunes. And you know what? That was pretty damn cool. It almost made up for the insane battery consumption, eaten tapes and inconvenience of having to carry around multiple cassettes when you left the house.
In the end, the iPod won out, which is what those of us old enough to be rooting for the Walkman really knew would happen all along. But Campbell did have one other good thing to say about the Walkman: when you hit play, it "engages with a satisfying clunk," he wrote for the BBC, "unlike the finger tip tap for the iPod." And anyone who remembers listening to their favourite cassettes on Walkmen in decades past will agree: it was satisfying, indeed.