‘My mates name me the BlackBerry queen!’ Meet the folks clinging on to outdated tech – from faxes to VCRs | Expertise

More than 40 years because the fax machine turned an workplace mainstay, it appears the celebration is lastly over. With telecom suppliers not required to supply fax providers, these machines might quickly be consigned to the dusty attic of bygone tech. However for the TikTok technology, who’ve by no means identified life with out wifi, ideas comparable to fax, dial-up web and Friday evening journeys to Blockbuster Video aren’t simply outdated, they’re utterly alien. Even so, not everybody has forgotten in regards to the charms of older know-how. From the clattering keys of an outdated typewriter to the nostalgic pleasure of a chunky Walkman, some folks have by no means left their favorite tech behind.

‘I favor movies as a result of I get pleasure from proudly owning one thing bodily’

Billy Cunliffe, 79, Wigan, retired

It took me three weeks to save lots of up £60 to purchase my first secondhand video participant in 1981. Now I’ve acquired seven gamers and greater than 6,000 VHS tapes which I’ve collected through the years. Though I do use Netflix, I favor movies as a result of I get pleasure from proudly owning one thing bodily, and I’ve acquired lots of content material you may’t discover on digital channels. I like my outdated motion pictures, and I’m additionally an enormous rugby fan. I’ve recorded each Wigan match that’s ever been proven on tv.

Billy Cunliffe at home with his huge collection of VHS tapes, vinyl records, cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes.
Billy Cunliffe at residence together with his large assortment of VHS tapes, vinyl information, cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes. {Photograph}: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

I really feel like VHS presents higher image and sound high quality than DVDs, which scratch simply and cease working. The draw back is that it’s actually laborious to search out VHS tapes and video gamers now, and once you do they are often costly. Individuals are going again to their roots and plenty of now really feel that older issues look good, so the costs of classic tech are going up. I’ve began taping over among the issues I not watch as I discover it unimaginable to get new clean tapes. Fortunately I’m an engineer, so I’ve been capable of restore lots of my very own video gamers and I take actually excellent care of all my tapes. I’m a little bit of an skilled now.

In addition to all of the movies, I’ve greater than 200 reel-to-reel tapes [magnetic tape audio recordings, popular in the 1950s and 60s], which embrace a recording I fabricated from a televised Beatles efficiency on the London Palladium in 1963. I needed to maintain the microphone as much as the tv to document the sound, however the high quality is simply nearly as good because the day they performed. I’ve all the time been an enormous fan of classic know-how. My granddaughter loves vinyl and cassette tapes so I feel she’s following in my footsteps.

‘I really feel fax machines do nonetheless serve a goal’

Lisa Ford, 54, St Louis, Missouri, nurse

I work in a hospital and nonetheless use the fax machine loads. It’s actually sensible, safe and easy. There are conditions the place it’s a must to share data in a non-paperless method, so I do really feel they nonetheless serve a goal. I like them as a result of they’re extremely simple to make use of, and it’s visible somewhat than digital, so you may see the affirmation that one thing has been despatched and obtained. If you wish to ship a doc just about, you typically should convert it to PDF or one other format, which is extra sophisticated than a fax. I nonetheless use a pager too, which is nice once you don’t have cellphone reception or web entry as a result of [it uses radio signals so] it’s going to nonetheless go off.

Lisa Ford with her pager and typewriter.
Lisa Ford together with her pager and typewriter

Whereas new tech is extra environment friendly in some ways, I really feel there’s an even bigger safety risk as a result of we don’t understand how our knowledge is being harvested and what it’s getting used for. There’s additionally a nostalgia ingredient with conventional tech, which explains why I’ve an outdated, heavy typewriter. I exploit it across the holidays for writing playing cards and notes, and it’s all the time a dialog starter when folks see it.

‘Individuals have a look at my BlackBerry cellphone prefer it’s an unsightly kitten’

Aren Devlin, 39, London, actor

Aren Devlin’s BlackBerry.
Aren Devlin’s BlackBerry. {Photograph}: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

I’ve been utilizing BlackBerry telephones for nearly 20 years, and I’m identified by my mates because the BlackBerry Queen. I acquired my present handset 5 years in the past and I’m holding on to it for expensive life. I like the tactile keyboard and realizing that I’m not by chance pushing the flawed buttons. Individuals have a look at my cellphone and ask to carry it prefer it’s an unsightly kitten. They’re fascinated by it, but in addition shocked that I nonetheless use it. Though I like my BlackBerry, I do know I’m residing on borrowed time as a result of among the capabilities are not working. In the mean time, it nonetheless works for calls, emails and WhatsApp. I can take images, however they’re not the highest quality. Fortunately I don’t use the digicam a lot so it’s not an enormous drawback for me.

I feel it’s good to not have all of the apps as a result of I might see myself losing an excessive amount of time. The newer telephones which are consistently beeping and buzzing additionally disrupt our focus extra. It’s unlikely I’ll be capable of get one other BlackBerry when this one breaks as they’re not being made, however I received’t think about getting a brand new cellphone till then. I’m very aware of my carbon footprint, so if one thing’s working and I get pleasure from utilizing it, why would I exchange it? I feel the fixed turnover of latest know-how is wasteful.

‘I hope my Walkman by no means breaks’

Tess Caven, 56, Essex, technique and advertising supervisor

A Sony Walkman from the 1980s.
A Sony Walkman from the Nineteen Eighties. {Photograph}: AKP Images/Alamy

I purchased my present Walkman in 1989, and though I reside and work in a really tech-driven world I nonetheless get pleasure from utilizing it. My dad was stationed in what was then referred to as Burma through the second world battle and used to inform us superb tales about his experiences, and within the 90s I recorded them on cassettes to verify I’d all the time be capable of take heed to them. Though I do know I might have them digitised, I like listening to them on the Walkman as a result of you may hear all of the crackles and sounds within the background. It takes me again to after I spent the day recording the tales, so there’s an actual sense of nostalgia as effectively.

I’ve additionally acquired some outdated mixtapes that I’ve stored because the 80s which my kids get pleasure from listening to. They’ve acquired Spotify too, however we just like the sound of the Walkman as a result of it’s much less polished and provides the music extra depth. The draw back is that though vinyl is de facto well-liked once more now, you may’t purchase tapes and gamers simply. I hope my Walkman by no means breaks – I’ve no thought how I’d get it mounted.

‘I discover utilizing a typewriter meditative’

Carla Watkins, 36, Colchester, photographer

I’ve acquired eight typewriters, three of that are in working order. I exploit fashionable know-how as effectively, however I like utilizing my typewriters for letters and journal entries. I’ve one pal I hold in touch with completely by typewritten letters, which is beautiful. In a digital world, it’s good to get an enormous chunky envelope filled with the sort of information you don’t see in a Fb replace.

I discover typing meditative, as a result of there are not any distractions – you may focus higher. Discovering folks to repair them could be troublesome and costly – it’s a little bit of a dying artwork – however I’m decided to get a few of my different typewriters restored. I’m terrified of taking them aside myself in case I can’t put them again collectively once more.

Carla Watkins with her collection of typewriters.
Carla Watkins together with her assortment of typewriters. {Photograph}: Carla Watkins

My oldest typewriter is from round 1910, and I like fascinated by the historical past of those machines and what has been written by the generations earlier than us. I even have a landline cellphone with a rotary dial, which I like. I’ll spend afternoons having lengthy chats with my mates, and since I can’t do anything on the similar time I’m capable of absolutely have interaction with the calls. I’m undoubtedly an old style lady at coronary heart.

‘Whenever you play on Atari, the main focus is totally on the sport’

Neil Thomas, 42, Cotswolds, museum proprietor

I acquired my Atari VCS video games console in 1985 when it was handed all the way down to me by a member of the family. I cherished enjoying on it as a toddler. My favorite sport was River Raid, the place you’d fly a aircraft down a river, capturing at issues. Simply over a decade in the past, I discovered the console within the attic and commenced to make use of it once more. The primary attraction is that the sport is immediately there on the display – there’s no ready for downloads, as you do with fashionable consoles. I additionally really feel the gameplay is de facto good on the older consoles. With out flashy graphics, the main focus is totally on the sport itself.

Neil Thomas playing River Raid on the Atari VCS.
Neil Thomas enjoying River Raid on the Atari VCS. {Photograph}: Sam Frost/The Guardian

Through the years, I’ve begun to gather extra outdated consoles and computer systems, and in 2017 I even arrange an internet site and YouTube channel for different retro tech fanatics. Consequently, folks began sending me their outdated consoles and computer systems. I’ve since opened two museums within the Cotswolds the place folks can come and play video games.

I feel the revival of older consoles is occurring partly as a result of there’s a nostalgia to reliving your youth, and partly as a result of folks need to share the historical past of video video games with their kids. Ten years in the past, you would choose up secondhand consoles for just about nothing, however now they are often costly resulting from their rising reputation. Fortunately, now we have a lab within the museum the place we maintain the consoles and repair them to make sure they keep in nice situation. I’ve additionally discovered a use for all of the floppy discs I’ve been despatched – they’re wallpapering the museum.