Provacation of the month:
“The continuous need to be at the cutting edge”
My friend Peder Lind loved Povel Ramel, a wonderful Swedish musician who died last year. In the 1950’s Peder found jazz and gave me and my sister all his Povel Ramel records – old 78 record and Peder himself bought only jazz records. Povel Ramel will be there for me for the rest of my life and I love his music. Music became an important part of my life and I still have a couple of the old records he gave me.
A couple of years later the LP and the 45 rpm single were introduced and I started to buy them. After a while I had a great collection of modern music and Povel Ramel was replaced by The Animals, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Alman Brothers, Chicago, Blood, Sweat and Tears and many, many more.
I moved to Uppsala to study at the University and Akai introduced an extra ordinary tape recorder and I decided to transfer all my music to tapes. It took me some time and my young daughters helped me, which many times ended up in chaos. Anyway, what is more important than your young daughters? I remember this time as full of energy and love. This great project was finally ended and I felt very happy and all my music was there on my Akai tapes and documented and I listened to this high quality music every day.
Soon cassettes were introduced and again I felt the need of being “with it”, so I transferred all my music from the Akai tapes to these new, wonderful cassettes. This project took another couple of years and finally I had all my music on the new innovation of cassettes. I felt very proud and one day when I came back from work I found my youngest daughter with all my cassettes spread around the floor and she told me that she was organizing them. I will never forget her proud and happy smile.
Around that time I made a business trip to the USA with a colleague. He is working within foreign affairs and his professional hobby is music. He introduced me to cds at Sam Goody’s in San Francisco. I did not have a cd-player and when I got home I had to buy one so that I could listen to the music and it was just great.
This became my next ambition to “be with it”. I bought cds to replace my cassettes and this project consumed a lot of my time for several years. I was finally very proud of my cd collection and I listened to music every day. I also bought surround sound equipment to get the absolutely best listening experience.
I use music a lot in my work and one day a younger colleague, Niclas, told me that I did not need any cds. I could put them on my hard disc on my computer. Again I felt the need to “be with it”. I spent days to get all my cds into my computer and I felt so happy and I could play all my music from my computer. Finally, I had the solution that suited me. Later innovations like Mini disc and Ipod, I realized, are not for me. I felt very proud of having jumped over some music playing innovations.
Being so proud of “being with it”; I relaxed until my younger colleague told me “you do not need to have your music on your hard disc. You can have access to all music, old and new, via the web. Just go to Spotify!”
It has been a great journey in my life and I look forward to what the future brings. We have to get used to that trends come and go. There will always be new innovations replacing older ones and we always want to “be with it”. This reflection letter was about music. However, I could have talked about banks, gym, yoga, parent groups, management schools, medical treatment, environmental awareness or any other area in our society. All changes will hopefully lead to a better society and at the same time it takes a lot of effort to “be with it”. How painful theses changes are is really up to me and my attitudes. As I once wrote in my book Reflect, from 2003:
“Our age does not have to do with the year we were born, but rather with the degree of pain that is felt when confronted with new ideas.”