Our First Annual 'Buy Retro Day'
By James Grahame
Today is Black Friday in the USA. It's the busiest shopping day of the year, with millions of gadget fiends are out bargain hunting. To speak out against runaway consumerism, protesters have declared today Buy Nothing Day. It's a nice gesture, but there is a better way to tackle the problem...
We're declaring Saturday the first annual Buy Retro Day.
We challenge you to discover the charms of an old gadget. Your newfound device is guaranteed to attract more attention than a boring "me too" flat panel TV or cell phone. Yes, it will take a bit more effort than joining the hopeful hoards at the local Best Buy, but you'll be well rewarded for your effort. Besides, you'll probably save hundreds of dollars and help the environment in the process.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Get your hands on a Super 8 movie camera. Good models are often available for well under $50 on eBay or from thrift stores, pawn shops and sites such as Craigslist. It's always best to buy locally because you can inspect the device before buying - remember to take along a pocketful of AA batteries. You could even go wind-up and purchase an old Soviet model.
3. Experience the mystique of analog audio. There are a surprising number of turntables available new for under $100 (or even less used), or get your hands on a reel-to-reel tape deck. Vintage speakers can be amazing, too; classic Magneplanars look and sound great.
4. Vintage computing can be really fun, although many classic computers aren't nearly as useful as they once were. One exception is the Sharp/Radio Shack pocket computer line. These tiny little computers are surprisingly versatile and fully programmable in BASIC. They're also shockingly affordable.
5. Try you hands at medium format photography. It is a fantastic way to shoot awe-inspiring portraits and landscapes on a negative almost four times the size of regular 35mm film. You can purchase new Diana+ cameras for less than $50 and Chinese Seagull TLR models can be had for just over $100.
Let us know in the comments if you end up buying anything irresistibly old fashioned this weekend.