I vividly remember the first album I bought with my own money: Tubular Bells. I don't know what it cost, but I remember having to save for it. I must have been about 11 or 12 and I remember the excitement of getting home, and putting it on my old mono recordplayer. The magical track is embedded deep in memory for me and I still enjoy the layered composition and appreciate its 'realness' (in that it isn't 'perfect' because Mike Oldfield was using an 8-track recording system that was state of the art at the time, but now superseded).
The word analogue, when you look it up in my hardback Collins Dictionary, means "a physical object or quantity that is used to measure or represent another quantity". But is has come to mean "the opposite of digital", as stated in the Oxford online dictionary. Analogue devices (watches, cameras, VHS players and record players) occupy real space and have visibly moving parts: you put a record on a turntable and it spins around. These days even CDs and DVDs can be considered analogue, when compared to the digital players that can carry a whole record or movie collection in the space of a few square inches.
While digital devices are convenient in terms of storage (and these days you can even store data in 'the cloud'), they do not have the real-life qualities of analogue machines. A digital photograph might be great for manipulating but you will never have that 'happy accident' when an overexposure turns into something like art. Similarly, a digital recording does not have the scratchy crackle of a much-played vinyl record and it will never hold a memory in its grooves of all the times it was played and loved. I remember my Songs in the Key of Life album – scavenged when my sister left home – that always jumped on 'Love's in Need of Love Today'. Records often jumped on the first track because this is where you put the needle down (if you were impatient and didn't want to wait for the player to do it!). Gosh – just looking the record up has given me a flood of memories!! I really must buy the album again.
In the future there will be digital advertising on every available piece of space (think about Philip K. Dick's vision in Minority Report, the scene where Tom Cruise's character is walking through a shopping mall). You may have interactive adverts, personalised adverts, or be given rewards for participating in advertising campaigns. The only way to be free is to UNPLUG yourself. And if more people start doing that now, the drift towards this sort of advertising will slacken off. Advertisers are only interested in making the sale; if enough people unplug, they will have to use analogue methods and go back to posters, leaflets and flyers, which can be annoying but don't get inside your head like the digital adverts do.
You can still enjoy digital technology – but in an analogue, real-life way. Simply unplug from the Internet as often as you can. Limit how much TV you watch and get your news from a reliable source like The Guardian (NOT Facebook and definitely not Trump's tweets – ha ha). While writing this blog, there were no adverts interrupting my flow and I had music playing in the background via my iPod dock. It's possible to limit digital exposure. I'm calling it "going low-fi".