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A case for the iPod in 2023, and why you shouldn’t wax nostalgic, and just enjoy it.

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In 2022, Apple decided to kill off one of its most iconic products… The iPod.

Well, if you ask me, Apple actually “killed” the iPod in 2017, when they stopped selling the iPod Nano to focus the iPod line solely on the stripped-down iPhone known as the iPod Touch, which got rebranded to simply being the iPod, with poor sales subsequently forcing Apple’s hand, resulting in the “death” of the iPod.

And yet, in 2023, I still use one. In fact I use an iPod that Apple discontinued all the way back in 2014. a 7th generation iPod Classic. Albeit, mine has been modernised with an SSD, larger battery and a casing swap to make it match more closely with the design and aesthetic of my 2021 Macbook Pro. Old mate DankPods, along with the guys at Elite Obsolete and iFurb are single-handedly making sure that these old pods don’t go quietly in the night.

So, why of all things would I still use one of these relics in the world of social media and streaming services?

Well, for the same reason why people take photos with DSLR, Polaroid and in some cases, film cameras. The same reason why I still rock a camcorder when I shoot videos both for work and for myself. Sometimes, a purpose-built device just does the job better. Now granted, in this day and age, Spotify’s been instrumental in the death of downloading and actually “owning” songs, hence why Apple Music’s been pushing its streaming service to compete, however, in the age where we’re supposed to “own nothing and be happy” it’s nice to have a device, chock-a-block with some of my favourite songs from when I was a kid, teenager, and indeed from today. Sure, it’s twee, and a bit nostalgic, but, at the same time, there really were things that were actually better in the past. iPods are one of them, at least in my opinion anyway.

There’s some places in this country that also get three-fifths of bugger-all signal. On a recent roadtrip to Hyden, my iPod came in clutch when we ran out of signal range and needed music to help keep me awake on the sunset drive home.

Speaking of signal, sometimes it’s good to have music without the connection of your phone. Sometimes I just want to listen to music on my bike rides. Jam some earphones in, stick my feet in the cranks and just send it. No notifications or messages, no nothing. Just me, me bike and me tunes.

In this day and age where we’re being forced more and more into cyberspace and more and more into this interconnected world of people’s shit-eating opinions and people’s shit-eating stories, people who don’t deserve or even need platforms, it helps to be able to still do some of the things you use the ‘net for, whilst also being able to somewhat disconnect from it. Smartphones are really friggin’ handy, but they’re also more addictive than cocaine in some cases, to the point where some are even saying that people are becoming pathologically addicted to these wretched things.

I propose something else. I propose a waste-not-want-not society. If something doesn’t work, fix it. If it does, preserve it, make it better, by optimising it, not making it do more than the sum of its parts. Why do trains need to be split into pods, Elon? Trains are just fine. You, good sir, want pods because don’t want to mix with the poors, and more importantly, want rail to die to continue our scourge on urban car dependency.

So if you want an escape from this “extra” world, do what I did and fix up an old iPod, load it up with some songs, and rock out to MCR like it’s 2005, and you’re an awkward Autistic teeenager coming to grips with his identity… I mean what the fuck is this “Asperger’s Syndrome” and what has a Nazi Doctor got to do with the fact that girls find me weird? I just got my first job, and it’s time to get rid of this cheap chinese thingimawhatsit, and show the others I made it, goddamn it, by bowing down to the glowing blue apple. Yeah, I’m going to buy a base model iPod Nano, yeah, one of the fat ones. I’m gonna watch South Park on it, and rename the files so my parents won’t know that I’m watching a show that they said was bad for me. I’ve fucking made it!

Why won’t the girls still like me?

In a way, owning such a device in 2023 lets me experience my teenage years and help me to realise how cringey I was, and how i’ve matured, whilst also seeing the device for its modern benefits, as an escape from 2023’s increasingly angry world. Replace MCR with The Smith Street Band, and my half-busted EarPods for say, a set of Crinacle x Truthear Zeroes, and now I’m a crying mess on the couch, listening to old mate scream his heart out about how much it fucking sucks to have his recording studio in the woods knocked down by a storm, and how the boring Young Liberal types he awkwardly meets at parties, are absolute champions in the game of “snorting coke” and yet their talk about how much they love to fuck over the Australian Housing Market with their shitty reforms, bores him so much he decides to fuck off to the back of the house to take a moment to breathe.

To be fair, I would too.

Like I said, it’s an escape. 2005 and 2023 had a lot in common. Teenage me was angry because girls didn’t like me, and the fact that I was a skinny goober who thought that being nice to girls guaranteed you affection. 2023 me is angry because people are fucking around with people’s salaries and their rights, still continuing to wastefully pollute the planet and bomb nations that disagree with the superpowers, and more importantly, thinking that wanting to just be a decent fucking human being is cringe. I’m sick of a massive event happening every second day. I just wanna listen to some Jeff Rosenstock and be able to have a decent night’s sleep for once. I just want to not have to worry.

So I fixed up an iPod. Because I know that the songs on here will always be on here, so long as I can find parts. Spotify can’t take them away from me. If I want to be a cringey teenager again, I can. If I want to be mature, and listen to something more relevant to who I am today, I can. I just can’t wax nostalgic. I was cringey then, and in 20 years time, my 50-year old self will think I am cringey now. Without cringe, I couldn’t become based. Without making mistakes, I couldn’t become a better person.

I know I can’t go back in time. All I can do is try to be better than the person I was yesterday. What quantifies better is simple. Do what I can to make life quantifiably easier. By fixing this iPod, it’s easier now for me to take a break from the noise of the internet. Something I think we all need, to be honest. Maybe it’s best to not wax nostalgic, and just enjoy the device. Enjoy the click wheel. Enjoy physical buttons. Enjoy the headphone jack. Things we know are better, but things we all eschewed for the sake of some so-called “progress”

Progress for the sake of progress, is not progress, but a miscalculated gamble on the future which you may regret. We pulled out our tram lines to allow for cars. Now we sit, stuck in traffic.

i just want them back…

Beano out.