United feelings about a mixed tape and mixed feelings about a united recorder

Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. First of all you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing. /High Fidelity

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A few days ago I happened upon some tapes on a shelf. Since we moved they have just been there, since I picked them up from a box and put them… somewhere, as you do when you move and don’t have designated spots for things yet (or, if you’ve taken a while to unpack boxes and have changed your designated spots like a hundred times and nothing is in what is now their designated spots since they don’t know that is their designated spot since you haven’t told them yet. I did find my passport though. Eventually. And it might not have been me who found it but I’m going with the important facts here that a) I have a passport, b) I know where it is and c) it has now a known designated spot. (I might have checked this morning that it was still there. It was)). Anyway, I found some tapes.

Julle has been bothering me for a while that we should really get rid of my CD-player and recorder (it also has a radio and tape player and it has been with me since I was twelve. I even saved up for it myself) since we mostly listen to music on the computer anyway. I have resisted this and said that there is music that I have that don’t go in the computer, like tapes and such. Julle has reluctantly let it go but these past few days I’ve come to suspect that this has been a scheme and just a big conspiracy to make me less intrested in the recorder.

Some time ago Julle said he needed some more space on a shelf and I suggested to move some boxes (not moving boxes but pretty boxes). He suggested we move the sewing machine. I asked him where. He suggested under the desk. I said no, that’s where my recorder is. He said we could move the recorder to the storage. I said no and moved neither recorder, sewing machine nor boxes.

Everything was quiet for a while and then I thought that perhaps I could listen to some of those tapes I found while I was bobbin lace. I pulled the recorder out from under the desk only to find that the cord was missing and I had no batteries. I asked Julle about it later and it turned out that he had hidden the cord inside the battery compartment, clearly in a way to prevent me from using the recorder. (I could have looked in the battery compartment but that’s not the point.) Now that I had finally found the cord, nothing was stopping me. Or so I thought. It seems like in the move, a button came loose from the recorder and it has been on my desk for a while. I haven’t really known where it’s from but it has been there. Now I noticed that one of the buttons where missing on the recorder and I started looking for the one on my desk, only to find out that Julle had thrown it away in a moment of extreme tidiness. I’m telling you, he’s after that recorder! But I’m on to him now and I won’t back down. After all, does he think that I will forget my friend because of a recent acquaintance? The recorder has been with me for 18 years, I’ve only known Julle for two. When he’s been with me for 18 years, he might get to have a say on what stays and what doesn’t.

To show off the greatness of my recorder I brought down some of the tapes and started playing them and I realized why I can never live with out a tape recorder as long as my tapes are still play-able. There is something about a mixed tape that can never be found elsewhere. I played the best mixed tape I have ever owned. It’s made by my old high-school friend Josefina, who was in my class for the first year and then moved away. I don’t even remember her last name (I think it starts with H) but I do remember her and she gave me a piece of her heart in that mixed tape, helped forming my taste in music and is still well remembered because of it, even if I haven’t seen her for 13 years.

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A mixed tape means someone has been thinking of you, has taken time to record song after song in a wellbalanced mix that says as much about them as it does about you. It’s a bit like knitting actually. It has parts of the maker and parts of the receiver. You only make something that you hope the other person will enjoy at the same time as you are using only things that you like. Josefina wouldn’t have had Mikabomb’s Super Sexy Razor Happy Girls on the tape if she hadn’t like it herself. And I loved it.

Now that tapes out of fashion and the CD is following it out the door, what are kids these days do to share music? Do they share playlists? I will never agree that is the same. A playlist is unlimited. A tape only has so many songs so you have to choose carefully. Only the best ones and only one of each artists unless there are extremely good songs. Also, you have to think before you record and you have to listen to every song while you record it and press the button at the exact moment when the song stops. A playlist takes no time to make, you can just add songs without listening to them, change the order a bit and then, bang, share it.

I remember long bus rides across the country to visit friends and listening to mixed tapes made by other friends, the same tape over and over again. You knew the songs pretty well when you arrived at your destination but that didn’t matter, a well made mixed tape can be listened to over and over again without being tiresome.

I have other tapes too. Tapes from friends who I don’t know anymore but once were so close to me that they made me mixed tapes to mark special events in our lives. Tapes to introduce me to a whole new style of music. Tapes that says so much about the years between 16 and 22. Tapes with songs that always makes me think of the maker of the tape whenever I hear them, just because. Tapes that show who I am and who my friends are. I’m not giving them away and I’m going to keep playing them.

So, the recorder is here to stay.