It’s true, advances in digital technology have made it easier to put together a compilation of music and stick it on a CD or iPod. I’ve got to say though, I miss the labour of love, the soul that goes into making a mixtape on audio cassette.
There was something about carefully selecting the tracks (invariably from vinyl) you wanted and in what order, cueing up the tape, recording, pausing and repeat all over again. For hours. It had to be a 90 minute cassette because the 60 minute ones made you feel like you’d been short changed somehow. The whole process felt even more special if you were making it for somebody else. On playback, you lived in fear of the deck head chewing up your precious work which happened far too often for comfort. And then there was the pure pleasure of listening to it on the Sony Walkman you got for Christmas.
I still have several mixtapes stashed away in a box under my bed but I don’t own an audio cassette player anymore. Two of those mixtapes and the memories associated with them are really special. The first, made for me by my very first boyfriend contains some great soul tracks by the likes of Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder, all love songs but nothing too schmaltzy followed by a really rather sweet message from him. What can I say, the boy had excellent taste in music. Shame about the rest of his personality.
The second has one of my favourite songs in the world. I recorded it from one of my Mum’s 7” records – Brook Benton and Dinah Washington singing Baby, You’ve Got What It Takes (see SOOD #5). I know I can just download it on iTunes but it isn’t quite the same, is it?
Maybe I’m just indulging in sepia tinted nostalgic sentimentality.
Or maybe I’m just showing my age. Yikes!