As I opened my mailbox today, among the countless spam flyers there was an issue of the first printed magazine I’ve ever subscribed to.
The issue’s yellow cover had the word “PROG” written in large letters. I run an indie Mac software company and do a lot of programming. But this magazine is not about PROGramming (as my sister, who happened to see it lying on the table, assumed). It’s about PROGressive Rock music. Yes, that music that was most popular in the early 70-ies, or as my former bandmate, Michael, introduced the Pink Floyd medley we were about to play: “This music was written before we were born. Nevertheless, it’s good.”
I love Progressive Rock and adjacent genres, like Jazz-Rock Fusion, Progressive Metal and everyone’s favourite: Classic Rock, whatever this means for you.
But this story is not about music. Rather, it’s about my weird first interaction with the magazine.
As I tore the thin cellophane in which it arrived and removed a one-page ad, which I didn’t care to look at, I was surprised to find a CD attached to the magazine itself. Its thin paper sleeve had a nicely designed cover with flying ravens, which reminded me of Steven Wilson’s melancholic song from 2013, “The Raven that Refused to Sing.”
I know that adding “melancholic” was redundant here. Just as Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, and Elvis was the King of Rock’n’Roll, Steven Wilson is the King of Melancholy. But I digress.
The CD has a sample of new songs from various artists. It would’ve been nice to listen to it.
Except: who listens to CDs nowadays?
My stereo system in the living room doesn’t have a CD or DVD player attached to it. Two Macs that I use, an iMac from 2015 and a MacBook Pro from 2012 don’t have a CD slot. Yes, I do have 3 CD devices at home: my son’s PC, my older MacBook Pro from 2010, which my wife uses to run Windows, and Xbox One, connected to the TV in the basement, which kids use. Basically, nowhere I can listen to music and enjoy it.
I already imagine you asking: “Who reads printed magazines these days?”. And you’ll be right. I’m surprised myself. I’m pretty sure I’ll cancel the subscription because I also subscribed to their online version, which is cheaper, doesn’t have to ship from the UK and available all the time.
But then again, maybe not. There’s something about the feel of its glossy paper and the curiosity of just flipping through it. And, frankly, I forget to read the online articles. There’s so much to read online already. But I digress again.
So, after looking at the cover of the CD and wondering how I’m going to listen to it, I flip it over and look at the small print on the back:
"If you experience any problems using this disc, you should first visit our support page at: www.futureplc.com/discsupport."
Why yes, I do experience a problem using this disc! It might be not the problem you people expected when you built this support page but… still, I wanted to try my luck. Deep inside, I had a vague hope that maybe, just maybe, there’s a way to listen to the tracks on this disc online and they had instructions on this page.
I carefully type the address.
I press Return.
The page slowly loads.
And I’m presented with:
Nobody cares about discs anymore. I bet Steven Wilson could write a great melancholic song about it.