Sunday, 30 March 2008

Hurray For Tapes!

Before I owned actual real life records, I had a motley collection of C-60s and C-90s to keep me entertained as I did kidstuff in my bedroom. These contained top 40 tunes taped off Radio One on a Sunday Night. I just taped the whole lot, it didn’t matter if I knew or even liked the songs I just had to own the music. I remember one cassette in particular that had Godley and Crème’s ‘Under Your Thumb’ on it with added sarcastic ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ added ‘live’ by me as the song recorded. As Godley (or possibly Crème) intoned "I noticed something very strange indeed", I leant towards the mic and sniggered "Coo!!". I like to think it added a personal touch to the song.

Next, I owned real life records but no record player, so I had to record them onto tapes using my parents’ hi-fi. Tapes were really tedious, you spent aeons Rewinding and back and forth trying to find your favourite song amongst the miles of magnetic tape. The miles of magnetic tape that would decide for no good reason to unspool whilst playing and create a terrifying birds nest inside your tape player that you didn’t discover until the songs started going all woozy. Then you had to unpick the whole lot from around the innards of the player and carefully wind it back inside the cassette using a pencil. Argh!

But tapes were kind of cute, too - nice little packages you could keep in your pocket. Or if you were hard you could secretly keep fags in the cassette cases. Plus, you could stick bits of Sellotape over the hole things on the top of commercially recorded cassettes and aha ha! tape over them with better stuff. In this way my copy of Kajagoogoo’s ‘White Feathers’ album (cripes!) became an ace Sea Urchins compilation. Best of all, you could design your own covers for them, the spines of which looked fab lined up on the shelf, all colourful-like with carefully Letrasetted titles.

I’ve been having a clear-out and some of my tapes really have to be binned. I never listen to them anymore, despite my tape deck being the largest, most expensive piece of equipment in my ‘sound system’. So I thought I’d record a few of them for posterity here. Cassette tapes I salute you.

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