Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nostalgia Day*

*It's also American Business Women's Day, Independence Day in Bulgaria, Bocelli's birthday and the 122nd anniversary of the first edition of the National Geographic, but all that's kind of irrelevant.

Proving once again that I am a child of the 90s, today I got nostalgic for cassette tapes.
Do you remember desperately trying to untangle its insides? I always sucked at that, remind me never to become a doctor.

I really don't know why I became all suddenly fond of cassettes. They were crap, really. But it started me thinking: does anyone else remember making mix tapes?

You would sit by the radio for hours, waiting for some (in hindsight) God-awful song to come on (although if you were feeling impatient you could call the radio station and request the same song several times, using different voices) and then when it finally played, frantically slam down the PLAY/RECORD buttons -
!!!!!!!

- listen joyously to the whole track, then press STOP with an enormous sense of satisfaction.

And the most frustrating thing in the world was when, after sitting by the radio for like three hours, your song came on and you'd hit record and then, two verses in, you'd hear the dreaded THUNK that meant you'd reached the end of the side. And you'd shout, "Crap!" because you were too young to say "Fuck!" yet, except inside your head. As an adult, I would like to say Fuck You, End-of-Side THUNK.

Finally, after weeks of patient work, the tape was finished! You had a whole hour of your favourite songs. And yes, admittedly most of them lacked the intro because your chubby, un-co-ordinated child fingers had mis-stabbed the RECORD button several times before getting it right, and they were staticky because the reception was let's face it a bit crap, and the end of each song was covered with radio announcer jibber-jabber because you were listening to the song and not thinking about pressing STOP, but God damn it, you now had the power to listen to the Backstreet Boys any time you wanted. (What? Don't judge.)

Until, of course, you overplayed the tape and all its insides came out.

I miss cassettes.

But not really.
These tapes were the best. They were see-through and, therefore, futuristic.

11 comments:

erin said...

Yes! I used to do this too. I remember spending a whole day waiting for Ricky Martin and his Living La Vida Loca so I could play it over and over again. =D

*uncorked said...

Seriously, kids have it too easy today. I just made a mix cd. It was easy. And none of that tape to wind. I was horrible at that as well.

Anne said...

Loved it, we could even take our mixed tapes on the school bus and the bus driver would play them for us!

Jackie said...

You know, I never thought about it but kids these days do have it easier with music! That's no fair...

Backstreet Boys, pshaw--N'Sync was where it was at :P

chris.dadness said...

You know, i-Tunes even wants to design the cover of your compilation for you now, complete with track listing?

I spent hours, my god, HOURS. And when you had the PERFECT mix tape - paff, you punched out the little tabs and it was a keeper.

Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

wupppy said...

I LOVE this post, I can so relate.
I remember getting a fancy mini hifi set that could automatically turn the tape, when it reached the end of side A. I would tune in to the last 90 minutes of the weekly popcharts and hit RECORD and after it was done, cut out the DJ chat stuff in between the songs. I would make my own index, I printed on my matrix printer to put in the cover. *sigh* What a shame our kids will never know what the hell we're talking about here

Beth @ Dirty Laundry said...

Or you'd be in the middle of recording a long awaited song and your stupid brother would come in and yell "Supper's ready, Fathead!" and that would totally ruin it, because you'd have to listen to "Supper's ready, Fathead!" every time you played that song.

cesca said...

Ooooh yes, I totally relate. Another thing about the "olden days" was trying to figure out the lyrics to songs. We'd sit there with our homemade mix tapes and plush PLAY, STOP, REWIND, over and over again, trying to figure out what the hell Nik Kershaw was saying in "The Riddle". (I only just figured it out last year when I discovered you could look it up on the internet.)

IT IS ALLY said...

Erin - Hahaha. That was totally on one of my tapes

V - I know. And my fingers were too fat to fit in the little rewindy hole thing. Sad times.

Anne - Wow! You had an awesome bus driver, we were never allowed to do that :(

Jackie - Ewww, BSB were WAY cooler. Do we have to take this outside?

chris - Stupid iTunes. How can you possibly get the same sense of satisfaction? I resent iTunes for Genius, as well. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO LISTEN TO, ITUNES

wupppy - OMG I never had one of those. I wanted one though. And yeah... one day our kids will be reminiscing about iPods. "Do you remember the Shuffle? How you couldn't even pick the song??"

Beth - AHAHAHAHA. Awesome comment. I had a Vengaboys track that I sneezed in the middle of

cesca - yes! I remember being extremely excited when I realised you could look up lyrics on the net. Because otherwise if you didn't buy the album you never knew. And sometimes the album didn't have the lyrics! That was the worst.

Alice said...

Oh wow. My sister and I used to take a tape deck/radio into the bathroom (little background noise, interesting and echoey) and make not only mixtapes, but radio shows; recording the song and then recording our voices in between with the tinny little built-in mic.

IT IS ALLY said...

Alice - We did that too! We used to make whole tapes of us singing untunefully along to Viva Forever. And playing the piano. Poorly. Our My Little Ponies were the starring characters in a girl group, of course, and this was what we were recording. They all had different singing voices, despite there only being two of us. Thanks for reminding me!