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Moebius, H. Michel-Annen, B. (1994). Colouring the grey everyday: the psychology of the Walkman. Free Associations, 4(4):570-576.

(1994). Free Associations, 4(4):570-576

Colouring the grey everyday: the psychology of the Walkman

Horst Moebius and Barbara Michel-Annen

Translated by:
Jacob Gluczman

Riding the tube to rock music, going by intercity train with hip-hop, skiing in snow-covered mountains with powerful classical music: the private sounds of the Walkman clothes the everyday in new garb, and deepens our enjoyment. But what happens between the earphones? What influence does this medium have which allows no border between the hearer and the heard?

Neil Postman once ironized that one doesn't have to think carefully about the Walkman. If Darwin were right, the problem would solve itself. In downtown Manhattan, all the kids using a Walkman will be run over. Postman was wrong. Eleven years after being introduced on to the market, the Walkman is still very popular. If the trend of the last years continued, in 1991 a reasonable share of market growth was to be expected not only in the European Community but also worldwide. Against the expectations of many who predicted a downturn, interest in the Walkman has not proved to be a short-term fashion. German reunification as well as the lust for life of youngsters in Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Erevan and Vladivostok will promote the sale of this miniaturized cassette playback machine. Many of the young take the Walkman for granted as an escort to their everyday lives, especially on journeys.

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