In our weekly spot where we talk about mental health and wellbeing, a few words on harking back to the joys of analogue.

Hello and welcome to Wellbeing Matters, a chance to sit back, pop your feet on a cushion and have a natter.

This week, as the world tumbles slowly into the Covid-19 abyss, let’s indulge ourselves with a little bit of nostalgia. Things may never have been precisely perfect in the past, but there are reminders hidden in our memories of things that bring a smile, or provoke a cheerful conversation among friends.

Like my analogue status. I’m not against digital. I’m happy to deploy Spotify, watch streaming services, work entirely on an online platform. But there’s part of my soul which delights in going analogue. Which is why I just bought a new vinyl record player, after my old faithful Midi system died on me after 35 years of service.

I’m not a music purist, you won’t hear me saying the quality sounds better or such like. No, I’m a nostalgist. And these are records I’ve owned since I was a teenager. They’re full of bumps, grinds, places where a bookshelf fell on them. Second hand records, bought from the library when they were decommissioned. I’ve spent lockdown ferreting out the gaps in my 80s baby goth collection on eBay. I’m writing this while blasting The Mission’s God’s Own Medicine, and medicinal it certainly is.

Aside from dancing barefoot in the study, I’ve been cleaning it out. There was a yellow box under the desk full of cassettes, with an actual cassette Walkman perched on top. Still working perfectly.

I asked the Twitterverse if it should stay or go, and the response was a resounding stay! It seems I’m not the only person harking back to the playthings of their youth. Those cassettes made me smile, in large part due to that sacred object, known as the mix tape. There was one I made while pining for a lost love (while conveniently forgetting I did the dumping). There was a very funny one a friend had made me. And there was the dance your pants off one, for getting ready on a Saturday night.

Nowadays, you don’t have to spend painstaking hours creating music playlists in physical format. Spotify has a list for everything. But there’s a lot of thought in that box, in those cassettes. I’m going to plug in, in bed, drifting off to sleep like I did as a kid, and smile at the voices in the night. Until the tape unspools and I have to find a biro.

Also in the Twitterverse, conversation turned to the sweets and treats of the 1980s. Such a banquet of riches! Butterscotch Angel Delight, Pacers, Quattro, Ice Magic, Spangles, Fry’s Five Centres, multiple chocolate bars of yore. I thank whoever reminded me of 5,4,3,2,1 bars and the insanely catchy theme tune from its advert that became today’s instant earworm. Let’s also not forget, that all northern kids of the 80s would climb a mountain for Tudor (crisps).

Shout out to you guys – is there anything that you hang onto in the face of digitalisation? Are there long gone sweets or foods that you would climb a concrete flat block monstrosity for? Did you do a paper round to furnish your 10p mix-up habit?

Let us know in the comments, join in, sing the praises for something that might have slipped off our radars. Dance barefoot, hands aloft. As The Mission sing, ‘She’s got the stars in her eyes, she’s dancing with a dream in her heart.’

Find your dance, your dream, a memory to make you smile. And let it carry you into the future, a little lighter of heart.

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