Thoughts from the Geek - Digital Schmigital

I don't want anyone out there to think that I'm in any way a technophobe or an old fuddy duddy because that's not the case. I love technology, I could not live without it. Technology boils water for my cups of tea, it cooks my crumpets and it keeps my whites white and my colours bright. The problem is that I just can't imagine getting the same level of satisfaction from reading digital comics and books as I do from the "real" thing. And for some reason I can imagine that many geeks would feel the same. I just realised much "cooks my crumpets" sounds like a sexual metaphor.

I am a collector, not a hoarder, a collector. Ok, a little bit of a hoarder. I enjoy going into my local comic store, browsing the racks and finding those hidden gems that I otherwise would never have unearthed. Further to this, the guys at my store are always willing to recommend, or poo poo, extra titles if I have the coin to spare. If it weren't for me going to my local store I don't think that my pull list would be half as bountiful or as glorious as it is right now.

I also love music and buy CD's instead of MP3's and sometimes even vinyl if the sleeve is pretty enough (here's lookin' at you Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars). That being said, I quickly turn my CD's into MP3's to listen to in my car but I just like having something tangible to show for my dear departed cash. I love having the cover art and lyrics to flick through when I can't work out the words to a song (here's lookin' at you too Manfred Mann's "Blinded by the Light"). I can't even fathom not having my book shelves chock full of the incomparable Neil Gaiman, Matthew Reilly, Asimov, P.K. Dick and most recently the marvelous and magnanimous Marjorie M. Liu. If I went digital, instead of shelves of amusement and wonder I would have an old disused ashtray full of SD cards. I need my books and my book shelves. They're the only thing keeping the dust off the floor.

As an avid book reader or comic book collector, how great it is to go back to an old favourite and flip through the pages only to be fanned by the musty sweetness of newsprint and long since yellowed paper. This can't be replicated by a machine.

I also feel as though by holding, touching and admiring the cover art of a book, the lyrics sleeve of an album or the entirety of a comic book you're at least paying your respects to the hard working artists and writers who have attempted to bring this object to life.

I'm not saying that books and comics in a digital format are a bad idea, in fact I quite like the idea in essence, I'm sure that a Kindle or an iPad is fantastic to go travelling with, I don't enjoy carrying 5 novels for a two week trip only to return with broken spines and well worn dogs ears. It's just that I, as a collectionist geek, can't see myself swaying from the tangible. Where is the fun in rummaging for back issues in a database? If there are no music stores, how will the angry teen, filled with self-loathing, glare at me with acidic judgement when I buy Purple Rain by Prince and the Revolution? How can I go shopping for books when there's no back cover to tell me what will transpire within?

I just hope that I don't live to see the day when beautiful works of art are only displayed in digital frames and entire libraries of work are stored on hard drives, like a literary Genie dormant until summoned by their captors. If that day occurs within the next 50 years, please don't kill me out of some misguided sense of humanity... I'll get over it, really. If one day everything turns digital, I would just like to state that I whole heartedly welcome our mechanical overlords with open arms.


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