The mixtape isn’t dead

2073470823_6df300ada3A little while ago, I was pondering the loss of the mixtape (I didn’t know the correct technical English term for it, if you have no idea what a mixtape is, check out this wikipedia entry), for ages one of the ways boys wooed girls, and everyone made their own fave compilation tapes by copying a friends cassette or ripping music off the radio. I have fond memories of songs ripped from the weekly Top 40 show, or the annual Top 2000 show at the end of the year.  Just the thought alone is enough to send me on a long ramble down memory lane. No, don’t worry, not right now. Not in this post anyway.

Today, doing a quick scan of my RSS feeds, my heart warmed. The mixtape, which I thought was a thing of the past, is apparently not quite dead yet. Mixaloo has dragged the mixtape away from the gates of purgatory and revived it. And although it’s not quite the same as those cassettes filled with home-taped radio snippets, I was glad to see the spirit of the mixtape lives. And that set me on a quick search, only to find the mixtape is much more alive than I knew. Check out this NY Times article, this Guardian article, or this book or this one on Amazon. I don’t know why, but this makes me very happy. There really is nothing like a carefully crafted mixtape (be it on cassette or CD) to say… well, anything really.

That sparked a whole different train of thought. I know Amazon varies its prices, but I hadn’t realised how much until I was lazy and instead of putting stuff on my Amazon wishlist, I started dumping it in my shopping cart. Every time you check out the shopping cart, some product will have changed price. Sometimes just 1p, sometimes up to twice the price! I’m fascinated. If I had more patience and even more geeky inclination I’d be tempted to track the prices in an Excel spreadsheet to see if I can make sense of them. Hmmm. Maybe not. I need some dignity.

One last digital-analog-related thought I had today was about how much more history is catching up with me. During life as I knew it, you made friends (e.g. at uni) and then drifted apart. You worked somewhere, got to know colleagues, left the job and (sometimes accidentally, sometimes not) lost touch. You heard songs growing up which you would then occasionally hear years later on the radio, instantly transporting you back to when you first heard them, but you didn’t like them enough to actually buy the LP/CD/cassette. Now however, history seems to be catching up with me. People I hadn’t thought about in years want to be my friend on various social networking sites (how many social networking sites can I really be actively involved in? That’s a topic for another post). I can listen to any single song I want using Youtube, even watch TV programs that haven’t aired in years, buy books that have been out of print for ages, all at the click of a mouse. If my history is getting bigger, how will I be able to keep up with it? Do I have the mental capacity? Are we not supposed to forget some things and move on? Is my head big enough for all these extra bits of information I now need to process? Will we lose serendipity, in which finding a book you’ve been looking for for ages becomes obsolete because any book you could possibly want is only a click away? A song you haven’t heard in a gazillion years only a few keystrokes away?

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3 thoughts on “The mixtape isn’t dead

  1. A quote from my favorite movie, High Fidelity.
    “The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.”

  2. For me, the historical research into my own brain of remembering the albums and the books and the friends, this is the grand part. I love that I can buy any of these items, however you still have to retain them somewhere in order to retrieve them from your memory. The Tears for Fears hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” always reminds me of coming home from camp when I was 12 years old, yet this was never a favourite song of mine.
    Great post Miss N. I had a slew of mixtapes that I made, and I miss them greatly.

  3. High Fidelity! Thanks for reminding me, I must go and see that again.
    Chad: you’re welcome! I miss my mixtapes too. That one which had half of ‘Do you love me?’ by the Contours on it… I still miss it.

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