He had told me it was big, but I hadn't realised he meant THAT big. It was the size of a small book.
From a practical point of view, the Walkman is rather cumbersome, and it is certainly not pocket-sized, unless you have large pockets. It comes with a handy belt clip screwed on to the back, yet the weight of the unit is enough to haul down a low-slung pair of combats.
It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.
Another notable feature that the iPod has and the Walkman doesn't is "shuffle", where the player selects random tracks to play. Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly - effective, if a little laboured.
Personally, I'm relieved I live in the digital age, with bigger choice, more functions and smaller devices. I'm relieved that the majority of technological advancement happened before I was born, as I can't imagine having to use such basic equipment every day.
Wow. The pace of change in technology is such a constant that I sometimes lose track of how much things have changed. This really drives it home for me. Anyone else remember having one of these boat anchors clipped to your belt, that mechanical whir reverberating through your hip bone (maybe I just had junky ones) as you listened to "Message in a Bottle" on your bus ride to school? Or am I dating myself?