“I love your bicycle by the way, it’s so retro!” said the rather fashionable history of art student, as she chained up her bike next to mine at the university where I was working. I looked down in surprise at my Royce-Union ‘Bermuda’, whatever that is, which is sprayed in a kind of unfashionable two-tone ‘midnight purple’ colour. The name & design are as ’90s as the shape of the rather impractical and bad condition old thing that I’d acquired after I saw it chained up outside a local butcher shop with ‘for sale’ on it, about 10 years ago.
My point here is one of perspective, and of the ever-changing nature of trends. I mean, even the word ‘hip’ itself is out of date now isn’t it? Except that it’s possibly coming back with the birth of the ‘hipster’. Although I feel there may still be a certain irony to that.
We live in a strange world of fashion, where onesies are apparently acceptable for grown adults to wear, and I recently noticed that there is a sort of cross-over category that’s missing from our vocabulary, one that I intend to make official using my self-ordained authority as a highly experienced blogger of randomness.
Craptro [krap–troh] (adj.) The subtle line when something is almost really cool and retro, but is not quite old enough and therefore remains a bit crappy and mostly just junk. One day it will be old enough for no one to care that it is rubbish (think old Mini Coopers) but it’s too recent for that (think early digital cameras, or alternatively most things from the 1990s).
Charlie’s Favourite Craptro Acquisition
So let’s get the ball rolling, and I’ll introduce you to my Sennheiser headphones, and explain to you what makes them craptro.
Headphones (especially big posh expensive ones) are a pretty definite retro fashion accessory… hipster kids have none of that cheap ear-bud headphone stuff any more. Wearing your headphones down the street is a statement that you are serious about music quality; you’re probably not listening to whatever is in the charts these days but intensely absorbed in some extended edition of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.*
The thing with my headphones is that although they’re Sennheiser, you can’t really overlook their crap points either. At some point the ear cushions must have fallen off, and as they belonged to my dad in his early days of being a piano tuner, he used grand piano felt to repair them… which is why they now have bright red felts around them. The jack is rather inconveniently large, and so I bought an adapter so that I can plug it into my iPhone. Except that what with all the different attachments, the iPhone constantly thinks that it’s unplugged and so stops the music, so I had to tape it together. And thus, the craptro headphones are complete.
*Please note that I genuinely know nothing of what I talk about. I’m a child of the 90s, and therefore probably rather craptro myself.
I thought that it might be fun to take some submissions from other lovers of cumbersome, eccentric and mostly useless devices. Send me a picture and a short paragraph (or a long one if you prefer!) about what it’s for & where it came from, and I’ll feature it on the blog! The crazier the better.