It happened to the iPhone, it happened to Facebook, and now the headphone was just the next victim. Good old headphone, to be worn at all times, with or without music to justify your use, you all of a sudden left the orbit of youth culture and entered the domain of old people. When people of a certain age started using the iPhone, it wasn’t because of its design, the moment it happened design became a secondary quality. From now on it was all about functionality. People who still use Facebook do so out of laziness, it has become the personal yellow pages of the early 21st century. People of a certain age only care about ease of use.
The headphone leap happened quietly, under cover of darkness, I barely even noticed it. One day I was simply annoyed by some punk not interacting with the shop assistant because he forgot to take his headphones off, one day a random girl going frantically through her playlist on the early morning tram just amused me, not realising that everyone else was doing exactly the same, the next I’m at the airport and I find myself surrounded by businessmen wearing (wireless) headphones. Transformation complete. Just happened overnight.
In a better world, in my wildest dreams all those businessmen would listen to ‘music for airports’, to honour the irony of the situation and to bury airport music under a blanket of more airport music. In an alternative reality I can also see them sensually whisper lines from Björk’s ‘Headphones’:
They saved my life
It lulled me to sleep
It’s not fantasy. They just stare at their laptop screens, a little later they queue up in silence. Emotionless, almost motionless, beyond boredom. Lord, please don’t let me misunderstood, make them listen to 4’33”, or The Robots, The Sound of Silence or anything, anything that breaks this situation and forces in some light.Tweet