Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Mix Tape

A girl came into my pub today, not this one, but the photo reminds me of her. We got chatting at the bar, while she had a cup of coffee. She was charming, funny, intelligent, and not so difficult to look at. We discussed books, movies, and music. I asked her what the first record she ever bought was? She looked at me like I had two heads.

"Do you mean CD?" she asked, genuinely

At that stage I realised two things. I actually did mean record, the shinny black disks I loved and stored in orange cases, during my youth. The second, was that this girl was a completely new generation to me. Both, were sad realisations.

As you do, when talking to beautiful young ladies, I covered up my gaff as best I could.

"Sure, CD, or even Download," I bluffed, and we went on from there. The conversation was vibrant, her smile flavoured her voice with cinnamon kisses. Her eyes laughed, and hinted at nights of abandon, not for me sadly, but some other lucky man, more like her. When the time came for her to leave, I felt real sorrow.

When she was gone, the bar was quiet and while I cleaned around the tables I thought again about the CD-record blunder, and the gulf that it represented between her generation and mine. For her, it will be all about download speeds, on line share sites, play lists, i-tunes and headphones. I don't get the emotional attachment that's possible with a download file.

I still remember my first record, I won't tell you what it was, because I would be embarrassed. But, that record was my treasure, my precious. I played it eternally on a portable record player, which happened to be red. I only ever touch the edges, with stiff, careful, fingers. I would blow any dust from the groves, hold it to the light inspecting for new scratches, before laying a needle to the delicate vinyl. Each new scratch I found, hurt me as if it had appeared on my heart, rather than the vinyl. I had gathered an extensive record collection, until I had to leave home for college. The was the one down side of leaving home, moving all that with me, was just not an option. You went to the mountain, even if you were Mohammad.

During my college years, records were soon replaced by tapes. Much more transportable, thanks to the "Walkman". Even still, I only had twelve or so tapes at the most, as I moved from Dorm to Digs. The intimate knowledge of making a tape recording will mark a person as a child of the 80's, and more specifically, the mix tape. I loved mix tapes. I am sure everyone did, in some form. I think this love was directly proportional to the time we had to put in to make them. The feelings in our heart dictated each song we picked for the person the tape was intended for. Waiting by the radio, with fingers hovering over the record button, waiting for the damn DJ to shut up and stop talking over the intro. I am sure they were doing it on purpose, to frustrate the legions of hormone infested teenagers, putting angst into musical form.

We made mix tapes for girls we fancied. Picking each song to give her subtle hints that, " I THINK YOUR HOT!!!". As if giving someone a mix tape, was not hint enough. We made tapes for making out, we made tapes to bring to party's, (only cool songs on these even if you hated them). But mostly, in my case, I made mix tapes when my heart was breaking. These were for me. Songs were picked, like music for a funeral mass. Once the tape was finished, they would play into the night, sending me too dream of the one I wished were with me. Rooms filled with gloom, lit by hanky covered lamp shades. These tapes, were perfect balm to spread on the wounds of romance, some of the scars still remain today. "Brass in Pocket," is my all time favourite, and most used, breakup song.

My thoughts followed the girl on her journey, and I wondered what connection will she have with music, romance, and life, when she looks back on her youth. To be sure, they will be different than mine, but I imagine the building blocks will be the same. Each failed romance having an anthem. Its just taht the selection of tunes is now greater, and DJ's less of a nuisances. I smiled to myself, and envied the one she was making play list's for, but they would never beat a mix tape!!
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