15 September 2007

Mix Tape

Back in the dark ages, before music was on computers and long before I was aware of the Internet, we made and traded mix tapes. Mix tapes were compilations of music, usually along a particular theme or just songs that you were fond of.

Over the years, from probably the age of 10 until 19, I probably made a hundred or so. I traded them with friends, shared them with school-mates, listened to them for hours at a time. These were the precursors to playlists.

I made them with a dual tape deck, or later, when CDs came along, taped from a CD. In the late 80s, though, I didn't have any CDs or a CD player. A good friend of mine, V, had several players and hundreds of CDs. She made great tapes.

Before I left for Sweden, she made me one that was full of Brit-pop and alternative music. I listened to it on the train, traveling around Sweden, on the bus back and forth on the way to school, at home, while riding my bike.

One of my favorite songs on the tape was by The Stone Roses, a song that I almost felt had been written for me. I identified strongly with the lyrics. But there were many other songs on the tape that I loved.

I liked the tape so much that when I tossed all of the rest of my analog tapes, having either replaced them with CDs or no longer caring about the music on the tapes, I kept that one. When DH and I moved house, the tape came along to our new domicile too. For at least the last 3 years, it has sat on a shelf with about 4 other tapes that survived the purge of old technology.

I'm not sure why, but just the other day a bit of the lyric from that old Stone Roses song popped into my head, and while I could remember that the song had been on the tape V gave me, I could remember neither the name of the song nor the band. I spent some time Googling the lyrics as I recalled them, but couldn't find it. I even looked for the mix tape, but didn't find it.

After a while, I remembered more of the lyric and eventually located the name of the song and the band, and I was satisfied with that, especially when iTunes provided me with the song for $0.99. (It is "Waterfall," from The Stone Roses self-titled album, should your own curiosity overwhelm you.)

Then DH and I watched a few movies last night and I changed the the DVD when one ended. While standing in front of the DVD player, I noticed the shelf of tapes, and sure enough, there was the mix tape from V.

We no longer have a tape player, except in my car, which is a 1999 and has a factory-installed tape player instead of a CD player for some reason. So when we went out today, I slipped the tape into my back pocket and popped it into the player.

The resulting stroll down memory lane made me very happy. As each song came on, I remembered long-forgotten things, including the lyrics to almost every song on the tape. While it is predominantly Brit-pop that I promise you've never heard of, there's also some Simon & Garfunkel, and a few things that were wildly popular at the time. Strangely, although V and I were both into a bit of heavy metal, there's only one song from a metal band, and it is a ballad.

I don't generally write posts of lists, even though I'm a compulsive list-maker, but as I eventually rediscover the names of the bands and the songs on the tape, I will make a list with links to the various band's websites and post it in the interest of fun and archaic music.

I haven't talked to V in more than 7 years. I'm not sure where she is these days. But listening to all that music again has prompted me to try to track her down and see how she's doing.

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