The world is digital. This we know. We may not like it, but the future (and present) lies in streaming video, music, podcasts, magazines and newspapers. But what happens to the school of rock meme? That is, how will one generation learn about the arts from the previous without album covers, old rolled up newspapers, and broken cassettes?

I got a first hand education in classic rock thanks to my parent’s venerable record collection. Many of my childhood days were spent flipping through colorful album covers like Hair, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Troggs, and Led Zeppelin, stored in dusty cardboard boxes and metal racks.

Even the smell was right.

I’d examine the photos for hours; study the lyrics. It took me to another world. When I tried to play the records I was at the mercy of a dodgy old turntable with questionable fidelity and timing. A small dial allowed me to vary the speed, but songs always sounded warped. The Kinks Tired Of Waiting took on new meaning. And I soaked in every second (or 7/8s of one).

My first air guitar performance was to Herman’s Hermits I’m Into Something Good. I remember strumming like crazy in front of an imaginary crowd. To this day that song puts a smile on my face.

Another of my favorites was the Cruisin’ series. Listening to these collections of songs mixed with actual DJs was my ticket to a virtual life as a teenager in the 1950s. The Diamonds, Little Darlin’ – thank you Dad!

But will today’s generation hand down a hard drive? A USB stick? Or just point their child to a web site somewhere in the cloud?

This is the new school of rock.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. I do know I’m a tech junky at heart – layered on top of a creative soul, however sketchy.

The merits of MP3s and digital technology in general are too convenient to ignore. When it comes to social impact; the art of it all, however, I believe we’re living in a disposable time. For meme enthusiasts, especially those that value arts and culture, that is a concern.

Note: all Duran albums are property of yours truly who some would say tainted the veracity of my father’s collection. Although I grew up with sounds of the 50s, 60s and 70s around me, I’m ultimately a product of the me-too 80s… with no apologies, skinny leather tie and all.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear