quotes From beats to books and back again

03 March 2024
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Updated 19 March 2024

From beats to books and back again

Remember VHS tapes? Not the Netflix nostalgia kind, but the plastic bricks you had to rewind with your fingers?

Well, that is how long ago I fell in love with making movies, dancing, and music — back when dial-up was the soundtrack of progress and a Sony Walkman was your portal to a world beyond textbooks.

If you were born between the reverb-soaked 1980s and the grunge-infused early 1990s, the chances are this story will hum a familiar tune to your soul.

The Roland 808, they called it — a clunky beast of a box, spitting out sonic landscapes on command. I was not Timberland, mind you. My tracks were journeys inward, whispered confessions laid over boom-bap grooves, scratched vinyl, and sonic stories of teenage anxieties, and dreams dreamt under a Riyadh sun.

No SoundCloud stardom, no viral views — just pure, unadulterated joy trapped in a flash memory.

And oh, the reading. Worlds devoured in the dim flicker of a bedside lamp; characters whispered to life beneath a patchwork quilt. (English writer J. R. R.) Tolkien’s hobbits battling Balrogs in my cramped bedroom; (US writer William) Faulkner’s troubled souls roaming the dusty alleys of my imagination. Each page is a portal, and each book is a ticket to a universe beyond the humdrum of everyday life.

Back then, adventure was not a hashtag; it was the rumble of my new and cheap Korean coupe spitting gravel on the Bahrain crossing. Once every other month, with a little money and dreams in the rearview mirror, I would flee Riyadh’s haze for the Gulf’s salty bite. No GPS, no maps, just roads etched in memory, clear even through sleep-crusted eyes.

Border crossings were checkpoints to freedom; tea stalls were sanctuaries for sun-baked souls. No curated escapes, just the thrill of the unknown, the open road my symphony, and every destination a whispered promise of the next.

Do not just chase the rocket, fuel it with your own fire. Go forth, you exceptional outcasts, and paint the future brighter than any neon skyscraper ever could.

Then came the vision — 2030, a gleaming monolith on the horizon, promises a future sculpted from ambition and speed. And suddenly, my beat inventory felt archaic, my paperbacks like outdated manuals for a bygone era. The world was racing to a future of megacities and hyperloops, and I, clutching my well-worn copy of Kafka, felt like a relic from a dusty museum.

Do not get me wrong, the vision is impressive. Its glass towers pierce the sky, and its promises shimmer like mirages in the desert. But somewhere along the way, the soundtrack changed. The hypnotic boom-bap of introspection was drowned out by the relentless honking of progress. The quiet joy of a solo journey is replaced by the FOMO (fear of missing out) frenzy of curated experiences.

Inflation swallowed my travel fund whole, and my books were collecting dust on overflowing shelves. The Roland 808 sits silent, a monument to a lost rhythm. Now, my days are a blur of deadlines and algorithms, the echoes of my forgotten passions a faint whisper in the wind.

But here is the thing: this is not a joke. It is a blues song, yes, but with a kick drum of hope buried deep in its bassline. Maybe 2030 stole my old hobbies, but it cannot steal my spirit. Maybe my beat flashes are silent, but the rhythms of creativity still pulse within me. Maybe my passport is gathering cobwebs, but the wanderlust still burns in my soul.

So, here is to finding new ways to make music, even if it is just the tap-tap-tap of a keyboard. Here is to rediscovering the magic in a well-worn paperback, even if it is buried under a stack of reports. Here is to remembering that the journey, not the destination, is what matters, even if it is just a walk around the neighborhood.

Vision 2030 may be a rocket ship to tomorrow, but hold onto your hats, friends, because our inner rockstars are not hitting snooze.

The real symphony plays in your soul, where your passions beatbox and your dreams freestyle. This is not a pit stop on the progress highway, it is a recharge station for your creative engine. So, crank up the volume on your hula hoop, let your paintbrush pirouette, and fill the future with the Technicolor noise of being true to you. Because amidst the glass and steel, it is the artists, the makers, the dreamers who will make Vision 2030 sing.

Do not just chase the rocket, fuel it with your own fire. Go forth, you exceptional outcasts, and paint the future brighter than any neon skyscraper ever could.

Now get back out there and chase that vision, but remember, the best part of the journey is the music you make along the way.

Abdulelah S. Al-Nahari is the managing director of business development for a marketing-solutions firm. He leads strategic growth initiatives in line with Saudi Arabia’s digital-first vision. The key components of his drive for excellence in the industry are his multi-sector awareness, strategic digital foresight, and range of industry experience.