Thursday, June 02, 2011
JB. You've done it again
Despite the changin' times, there are some things in life which have, at one time or another, been so much an enjoyable part of who I am, that even if I don't do them as often nowadays as I might like, they still make me feel fantastic, as soon as I embark upon them.
Case in point; I really love a visit to JB HI-FI. Sure, I might only drop-by once a year these days (instead of at least once a week, as of yore), and sure, the majority of the titles in the CD racks (not to mention some of the CD rack categories) are completely foreign to me, but still, the sense of excitement and anticipation I get when I step across the electronic sensors into that world of yellow, plastic sticky tape just gets my consumer juices going.
While I was only really ever into the CDs side of things at JB, I know there's always been something for everyone there; music DVDs, TV and movie DVDs, hi-fi systems, TVs ... and now a pretty comprehensive range of computers and i-pads – these latter items not really being my bag, but the fact that they are the bag for so many others merely adds to my enjoyment of the place.
But there's something I need to make very clear from the outset, given my observations from today's visit to JB Hi-FI. While I love/d spending hours and shit-loads of cash on the acquisition of eclectic music from their copious range of fine reggae, dub and alternative rock, and while I even occasionally wandered through their DVDs and hi-fi equipment for a bit of a poke and a giggle, I never once lost sight of the fact that everything in that store was comprised of items that I may WANT, but never constituted anything that I, nor any other member of humanity could ever honestly believe they might actually NEED.
So today, as I was wandering through and having to chase Hambones along isles that I never really knew existed (who knew JB sold turntables, or "decks" as I believe the young folk call them?), I eventually found him after a few, heart-stopping moments of lost contact, in front of a massive array of flat-screen TVs (or should that read, "...an array of massive flat screen TVs"?). As Hambones proceeded to place is grubby mitts over every one of those impossibly large, shiny screens, one couldn't help but be blown away by their amazing colours and picture clarity. To enhance this, as these places often do, they had a DVD playing on every one of the thousands of screens, flying you over Antarctica in a balance-altering helicopter one minute, or riding across the African savannah on an abdomen-jolting elephant the next.
As I struggled to pry Hambones' vegemite-smeared paws off an IMAX-sized screen before I got caught by one of the black-clad Easter Island statues which moonlight as JB security staff, I noticed that each of these amazing images were punctuated with writing over a blank screen, which on further investigation, constituted facts and messages about environmental degradation and conservation, climate change, population explosion and other determinants of the health of our dying planet, and I gotta say, it really stuck in my craw.
Here I was, surrounded by walls of massive, shiny, black, plastic, electronic devices, any one of which would probably feed a whole family for a year amongst two-thirds of the world's population; basically the epitome of consumer-driven greed and superfluous acquisition, and they were using messages of peace, conservation and global socialism to sell them. Surely someone was taking the piss? I might have thought so, if the footage between each message wasn't so brilliantly drawing my two-year old son under its spell, not to mention a number of others who may have had more years under their belts, but seemingly equivalent intellect.
I get it ... we've gone too far. While on the one hand, the screaming, talk-back radio listening mobs of Western Sydney Aussie Battlers surviving on the poverty line are leading a national outrage directed at a government which, simply because there seems to be just no other way to tackle the urgent global crisis of climate change, is threatening to "tax us within an inch of our incomes", on the other, everyone still seems to have enough disposable income to purchase a television which is so large that one needs to knock out a wall to get it into their living room. We're so sick, twisted and confused with our own wealth and greed, that even messages of reduce, recycle and reuse, punctuating breathtaking imagery of what we'll lose if we don't, actually spurs us on to consume more. Get me outta here!
You can just imagine how big the telley is! Pic: http://www.realbollywood.com