A Luddite Skips That TapeFriday, October 21, 2011
|Two eccentrics - Ian Bateson & Mark Budgen|
I have a friend who is English and because he is an English man, like many of his ilk he is a tad eccentric. He is about my age and while he has traveled widely he has never driven a car nor has he ever held a driver’s license. And yet you might suspect that my friend, Mark Budgen would be a Luddite. He is emphatically not.
He routinely (and has done so for years) downloads podcasts and listens to Norwegian classical music stations on the net. He knows how to navigate the web and is usually the first to know about the latest of anything, trends included.
Last Friday morning, Vancouver Sun Editor-in-Chief Patricia Graham announced to her startled news room that she was no longer in charge, her two hyphens-in-chief temporarily to be retired and that she was off to be Vice President of Digital Media. Mid morning I received an email from Budgen (he lives in Oliver, BC) asking me what I thought. How did he find out?
As I wrote yesterday’s blog on my love for true high fidelity sound I thought of Budgen. Budgen went from very good vinyl records to CDs and he bypassed the cassette tape era, obviously in the know that it was a doomed technology. I have hundreds of these cassettes and many are unplayable as the plastic has stretched and the “wow” is unbearable.
Since I now know that Videomatica (possibly closing in a month) no longer rents out VHS tapes I have to accept the fact that my VHS machine is as much history as my state of the art fax machine of a few years ago. I should have consulted Budgen about this.
Budgen’s tastes for the practical latest apply also to his sense of fashion. He wears jackets that I think might be very light yet are obviously rainproof and possibly bulletproof, too. His shoes (a man who does not drive must know how to walk and do so) are the best and some of them look like a cross between track shoes and mountain climbing ones.
But its Budgen’s ability to see trends and to read between the lines of what politicians say or read what lies behind the news that makes him a constant reminder that somebody should employ him soon and bring him back from Oliver, a place that certainly would not be a better place with his parting, but that Vancouver would certainly be one with one of its best eccentrics back.
The high point of any month is when Budgen comes to Vancouver (by Greyhound Bus) and he and my other eccentric English friend, Ian Bateson, meet up for lunch at out favourite Robson Street, the Next Noodle Bar. Our conversation is never long enough but it just makes me hope that the next one happens soon.