Posts tagged nostalgia

The End of the Halcyon Days, released February 20th 2000, is one of the old mixtapes I have been uploading to my Mixcloud account (and here’s a bonus 20 minutes of stuff that didn’t fit the original 74m CD-R). Like the Y2K Mix I wrote about before, this mixtape is note particularly well-mixed or thought out: I was just a kid with a shareware version of Cool Edit Pro downloaded from someplace such as Tucows, some CD ripping-software besides a cache of MP3s that found their way into my computer via Zip disks, and a willingness to release these mixtapes online as 32kbps Real Audio streams in humble self-made websites with names such as Detuned, Bleep (before Warp Records came with a Bleep of their own), or Radio Deluxe; sharing their URLs on music IRC channels I used to hang out at, often getting kicked for the mixes’ electronica slant not being the ops’ cup of tea.

Therefore, such uploads can be regarded as exercises in nostalgia, both for a drive to experiment and do really badly at stuff that it was alright to later lose interest in (except for a brief relapse a few years later, I had moved on from online mixtaping once I discovered blogging), and for that old dream of an anonymous, untidy, independent Web. Still, things evolve: as we are able to travel back to the 128kbps streams that never were, the artists so dramatically and poorly ripped off in the making of these mixtapes can get some kind of compensation though the financial deals established by these centralized platforms such as Mixcloud & etc… right?…

For comparison, here’s a screenshot of my real Geocities-hosted homepage, made in late 1997. The downside to years of data-loss paranoia and redundant backups is that I keep all kinds of embarrassing stuff, readily available for me to share with you readers whenever I find myself on a Cory Archangel-esque, aesthetic-appreciation-of-crap mindset. (Perhaps the Internet equivalent of my not-totally-ironic conversations on the merits and demerits of individual episodes in the Rocky series.)

Anyway, as it has been years since I last looked at this, I have a few questions to my 18-year old self: What the hell is that typeface in the title and background? And how could you even include that handheld-scanned ID photo? And is that darker background color purple or blue? (At 32, I can’t tell them apart.)

For the record I’m pleased no Comic Sans was found anywhere on that page. And surprisingly enough, no hitcounters!

The Geocities-izer will theme any website like a Geocities-hosted crapfest, which is why I found it appropriate to present the above image of my GC-ized website as a 16-color GIF. I think the transformation lacks a centered text layout, as well as a few animated buttons and Java hitcounters. But the garish colors: perfect.

That which we have now, having never been

An interesting post on urban renewal, real estate speculation, nostalgia and gentrification. This seems a pretty universal phenomenon: right now downtown Porto has a mix of successful (?) and not-successful renewal, in the form of new drinking establishments all over the place and costly overhyped low-quality apartments like those the article describes. The former are all too dependent on fashions and are risky business, while the latter can’t have a good future value — being located in buildings surrounded by abandoned fire hazards, in streets where the drunken hordes roam on weekends.

A huge part of my childhood now fits in a website. To think of all the anxious Fridays, waiting for my dad to arrive from work with a bootleg copy of some new game (back the 80s, at least in Portugal, there was no such thing as ‘piracy’, in fact there were quite a few ‘game copy shops’). To think of all the time spent anxiously waiting for that first load attempt, only to see the game crash after 15 minutes of loading. To think of all the constant fiddling with the tape recorder, trying to ‘tune’ it for that particular tape — in a couple of years I’d be fixing radios (or destroying them in a puff of noxious electrical smoke, more likely).

And now, this website has 28 years (up to 2010!) of Spectrum games accessible and always-loadable at the click of a button, and all I can say is that for all the nostalgia, Kick Off looked like shit.