Monday, April 28, 2008

Oi, '80s sentimentalist alert! Check out this article (and some true stories) about the lure, the lore, and the sad demise of the mixtape.

Amazing to think how we've all probably got our share of forgotten mixtapes banging about out in this world, eh? I made loads of them in junior high and high school, exactly the same way as described in this essay -- first from the radio, forbidding my little sister in our shared bedroom to make the slightest noise, lest it come through in the capture. Hoping hoping hoping that the DJ wouldn't talk too long in the intro to songs or fade it out too early, or, god forbid, fade the song I wanted into something horrendous.

I can almost feel my legs falling asleep as I picture myself as a gangly and awkward 12 year old, sitting on the floor of my room with my finger poised at the ready over the pause button of my shiny and new dual cassette boombox that my parents bought for me for my birthday.

You know what I'm talking about, right? Have you forgotten?

When we were kids
We hated things our parents did
We listened low
To Casey Kasem's radio show
That's when friends were made
To think of them just makes you feel nice
The smell of grass in spring
And October leaves cover everything

Later I would record songs tape to tape, priding myself on my mixing skills to choose songs that got that fade in/fade out just right, whilst maintaining the "mood" just right as well.

I also remember getting very good at gauging how long I really had left on a tape and having a list of songs that I used pretty exclusively as end filler. Anything by The Dwarves and Minor Threat was pretty much a given, most songs being less than a minute long anyway!

I loved making covers for them, poring over discarded magazines and, oddly enough, the J. Crew catalog, which I subscribed to but from which I could never afford to order. Great colors abounded for tape covers though, and the catalog meshed with the mixes I made to fuel my passionate adolescent dreams of getting out of my little hometown someday (and wearing clothes like that, and meeting men who look like that!) Anyway, I digress -- the mixtape cover: in our increasingly throwaway world, what a lost art that is as well.

I can credit a mixtape for snagging my hubby. I can't remember the particulars, but I do remember 'I Want You Now' by Depeche Mode and 'There is a Light That Never Goes Out' by The Smiths making an appearance. I am anything but subtle.

I still love making mixes, now on CDs, and I love receiving them as well. But there's just nothing like the love that is apparent in a mixtape. RIP.

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Blogger Trevor said...

I agree too with Harlaub when he says, "By the sheer effort that went into each one, every cassette mix tape was a big declaration - of love, friendship or even anger. A mix tape was an event."

Excellent post O love of mine! I still can remember the cover you made for the mix tape you mention--no J Crew clippings adorned it--just a very elegant drawing.

April 29, 2008 at 12:07:00 AM PDT  

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