Monday, December 17, 2007

Kickin' It Old School....

I was born during an era of Reaganomics and Trudeaumania, a year when the New York Islanders would take home Lord Stanley’s Cup for the second time in a row, and when Ordinary People beat out The Cole Miner’s Daughter for Best Picture at The Oscars. The year was also a time when the world lost two of its heroes—Terry Fox and Bob Marley. Yes, my friends, I’m saying it loud and proud: 1981...represent!


But even though I cuffed my pants, crimped my hair, owned a couple of Cabbage Patch Kids, bounced on my Pogo Ball, tuned into Transformers and The Smurfs, wished that He-Man and She-Ra would hook-up (until I discovered they were siblings…eewww!), teased my bangs, collected Garbage Pail Kids cards, loved The Goonies, chose Jem over Barbie, and believed that Michael Jackson was a god, I didn’t really come of age until the following decade.

And come of age I did! As hair metal and bubble gum pop surrendered to the grunge wave, the 90s was my time to break some major barriers. It was filled with first kisses, first boyfriends, first heartbreaks, first rock shows, a first car, a first job, and my very first time snowboarding. But in the midst of all these firsts, was the music. All of these inaugural moments could all be nicely captured on a couple of well-orchestrated mix tapes....

So where's all this nostalgic energy coming from?

A few days ago, I had the sudden urge to embark on some major spring cleaning. Since this happens on the rarest of occasions, I decided to take advantage of the moment and go with it. So I started by tackling an old box that dates back to my youth. I don't consider myself too much of a pack rat, but this box is sort of a time capsule of my coming of age so I've had a hard time throwing a lot of this crap away. And what kind of treasures could one find amidst all this teenage junk? Let's just say that there's evidence of a first boyfriend, old posters, some incriminating photos, and the mother load of mix tapes.

So there I was, mix tapes in hand, on the verge of chuckin' those damn cassettes into the trash when I suddenly came to my senses. Instead, I opted for giving them a listen before I made anymore rash decisions....

And I'm glad I did. Instantly, I was transported to a time when Anthony was inviting us into a world of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Kurt was sharing Polly's sad story, and Shannon was giving us some Tones of Home.


Housed in this Converse shoebox of cassettes were also memories of the tedious mix making process. Remember how you had to had to hold down both the PLAY and RECORD buttons in order for anything to actually happen? Or how the most groundbreaking technology to hit cassette players was AUTO REVERSE. And we can't forget about setting the right mood. While I have to admit that many of my homemade tapes were literally slapped together at the last minute, I had been known to carefully craft a cassette or two in my day. Not only did you have to worry about the usual PAUSE-RECORD routine, but now had to factor in smooth transitions and contrasting tempos. But wasn't it all worthwhile in the end? This labour of love actually began to pay off once you slipped that personally mixed tape into the hands of your high school sweetheart, or even your best friend, and got to see that deeply appreciative look on their face. Oh, those were the days....

So as we now take comfort in the drag-and-drop ease of MP3s, and have long tossed-out our clunky Walkmans and even Discmans in favour of the teeny-weeny IPOD, don't you miss the raw charm of vinyl, cassette tapes, and CDs? Since I'm sure that Apple and Microsoft are just waiting for the perfect moment to introduce their latest line of gizmos and gadgets to their loyal legions of tekkies, you better believe that you'll always find a record player, boombox, and CD player in my house! There's nothing wrong with preserving a little piece of history, is there?

6 comments:

The All Seeing Eye said...

The Smurfs rocked!

Divinyl said...

Nice article...I miss mix tapes :o( They were true labours of love...the hours that I would spend getting them just right!

As for He-Man and She-Ra...you sick freak! Lol.

ZenDenizen said...

Oh you'd soooo love Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield (especially if you liked High Fidelity).

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

the all seeing eye...

Yup, the Smurfs are waayyy better than half the cartoons on TV nowadays!

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Thanks divinyl! I know, as time consuming as it was, I do have some really fond memories of those damn cassettes. Tapes could totally take a beating as well--you didn't have to worry about "scratching" them....

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Zen...

It's funny because I started piecing together this post right around the same time I read your Love is a Mix Tape review. I guess great minds think alike, right? he he he!

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I used to friggin love this game as a kid!! You have to play at least one game!