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Slipped Disc by Geoff Shearer

March 12, 2020

A stalwart journalist for News Ltd for 20 years and a former TV Week Features Editor, Geoff Shearer is one the country’s most admired arts and entertainment writers. He’s taken a step into semi-retirement to concentrate on his fiction writing, while relishing the chance to share his unique take on life with My Halcyon Days’ readers.

There’s a revolution going on. And, you know what, I’m jolly well not going to be part of it.

You may, or may not have noticed, but for the past year, local op shops and marketplaces have been inundated with used DVDs and CDs. People are frantically off-loading their collections.

Why? Because we now have media streaming services that come with their own back-catalogue of movies and TV series. If they’ve got your favourite flicks; then why have those rows and rows of plastic DVD cases chockering up your Ikea Billy bookcases, right?

Meanwhile, music is being “de-disced” thanks to streaming services and digital music retailers. Revenue from digital sales is now greater than physical format sales. That tipping point was reached back in 2014 my friends; which is when your local music shop may have shut down or started selling white goods to survive.

But we’ve been through this before, haven’t we? Vinyl records were killed off by music cassettes which in turn were killed off by CDs. VHS tapes were killed off by DVDs.

The only problem is the old formats refused to die.

I know it can be a confusing time going through “format fatalities” - (My mum, God bless her, struggled with the concept that VHS was replaced by Digital Versatile Discs. She’d phone and ask: “Now, are there any VDs I can give you for Christmas?” So wrong, on at least two levels) – but maybe we shouldn’t rush this latest revolution. Call me a “disc-o-saur” but I’m hanging on to my silvery round metallic things. Viva la disca!

You see, it’s just like looking down on that Zenith Solid State record player you had in the ’70s – what goes around, comes around. Vinyl records are big sellers again and some musicians have dabbled with releasing on cassette. And there is a burgeoning number of collectors for VHS tapes.

It all comes full circle, doesn’t it.