What the Hell is a 'CD'?

CD player

I put on a CD the other day. I know, how retro of me. It'd been a while. I had to look up how to operate the stereo machine to play it. The instructions were inside a box in a cupboard and the pages were weathered and brown like an old treasure map. For those of you who've forgotten what CDs look like, they resemble mini vinyl records wrapped in aluminium foil. I think of them as round, solid mp3s.

It was quite nostalgic to hear the gurgling sound of a laser firing up, but I have to admit as I gazed over my old CD collection, I felt no emotional attachment.

There was a time when I was very fond of my CDs. I took great care not to scratch them and I alphabetised my albums obsessively. But now, I feel nothing. They seem, well, so pointless.

When I was a kid, the vinyls in our house were purged once CDs became popular. A new device was in town, so the old was swept away. I liked my parent's vinyl collection and I never understood why they were thrown out. It felt like killing your horse because the Johnsons down the road bought one of those new fangled bicycles. "Hmm, colour films are delighting audiences, better destroy every copy of Citizen Kane."

Penny Farthing

For those of you gasping in horror at the thought of vinyls being destroyed, don't worry. I managed to rescue some and to be honest the world can survive without one more copy of Bat Out of Hell and Neil Diamond's Hot August Night in existence.

But the lack of emotional attachment to the compact discs in my cupboard left me wondering if they've forever passed their use by date, or one day will my kids be hassling me to look at my CD collection and searching for old stereos from the 90s in op-shops? Probably not. It's more likely they'll be asking me, "Why have you got so many Mike Oldfield albums, you lame-o? What era did you grow up in?"

Yes, kids of the future will be using "lame-o". I'm going to set up a fund to make sure its use never leaves the common vernacular. I'd better check if lame-o.org is registered... TubularBellsII

The problem with CDs is they mimicked vinyls too much. They're discs, they spin and use a laser instead of a needle. Skeuomorphic designs always seem silly once something new arrives. After updating to IOS 7 I found myself wondering, "Oh yeah. Why did the notes app have to look like a notebook? And turning pages? There are no pages; it's a fricken phone!"

And so CDs have left me feeling like their sound - cold. I'm sure they'll have a place in the future holding classical music compilations and soundtracks to Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. But for me, it's time to kill my horse.

@SimonGodfrey

As a side note, I just don't get Neil Diamond. He seems like he was a singer for mums even back in the 70s when our mums weren't mums.