Who Took Our Cassettes?

The Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky in his autobiography expressed that he didn’t like the idea of literature converted to cinema.

Cinema should stand alone and be an art form of its own, he said.

He was correct.

Each art form has its own peculiarity. Conversion of content from one to another takes the essential experience away from the content. It isn’t to say that a film based on a piece of literature cannot be good. In fact, it may even be better than the literature when it comes to expressing the idea/feeling. But it isn’t literature anymore. The essential thing is gone. I have written about this phenomenon here:

My Communication Preferences: Texts vs Others | by Adesh Acharya | Apr, 2023 | Medium

John Cooper Clarke’s poem I Wanna Be Yours is probably expressed better as an Arctic Monkeys lyric/song. But read the poem or watch a video of Clarke performing it live and you will realize that I Wanna Be Yours is not the same thing in two different mediums. It’s the same thing but not. It’s like somebody transferring the food from your paper plate to a ceramic one. Yes, the food is the same, but the plate is gone. The ceramic plate is better, but it isn’t paper. And this makes you feel as if the food has been changed too.

These are the experiences we live for. We do not want to sacrifice this for utility. This holds true for both the art form and the media.

I have never listened to music on Vinyl but whenever I watch videos of people playing the songs of my favorite bands in them, I yearn to buy one. During such yearn, even though I can find the same music on my laptop/phone with a click of a button, I don’t feel like listening to it. I want to listen to that band on Vinyl.

And this Vinyl yearn is different from Cassette and CD nostalgia. If I try to imagine a song in different mediums, it feels different. A cassette experience differs from a CD. And a CD from a mp3 player.

Today the songs we listen to on our laptops and mobile phones have a different essence. While they are convenient, we feel nostalgic for what we grew up with. But I am sure we will be nostalgic for what we have today when god knows what we will be forced to wear on our heads and faces tomorrow.

The plates keep changing.

But what do we do with the essential experience? How do we preserve it? How do we go back to it?

Do we think of Buddha, Darwin, Marx and all the thinkers who promoted change and move towards enjoying our new plates?

Or do we find a way to co-exist?

One thing is for sure:

The medium is the essence.

I never go to YouTube or Spotify when I want deep thoughts. I have tried but have failed to reach the depth the thinker tries to take me through those mediums. I want to read profound stuff.

If tomorrow these written mediums don’t exist, what do we do? Do we move on to a more convenient form? Or do we fight for what we had?

Art forms should co-exist and they can. Each art form has its own peculiarity, so it has to be preserved. In fact, the existence of a content in multiple art forms adds to its original excitement and dimension. It is fun to both read and watch Solaris. I Wanna Be Yours is fun as both a read and a song.

Literature, films, shows, songs, internet videos, memes can co-exist. It is the medium that is tricky.

  • Should books and eBooks both exist?
  • Should movie theaters and streaming websites both exist?
  • Should Vinyl and Spotify both exist?

Ideally yes, but will they? Should they?

I wrote this above:

These are the experiences we live for. We do not want to sacrifice this for utility. This holds true for both the art form and the media.


When I say medium is the essence and get nostalgic for my discman, it is what it is: It is nostalgia.

I feel good thinking about the time when I was 20. But 20 is gone. One of the reasons it feels good is because it won’t come back. My discman is gone. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt the same way about it if I had it with me all along.

So, what do we do? How do we approach the media problem? How do we keep experiencing life and move forward with the world?




we turn to something that always makes sense:





none of those things will be with me if I cannot afford them.

An intricate balance of what we want and if we can afford to have them will decide the fate of our mediums. The same applies to us.