MUSIC- Do you remember the humble cassette?


We certainly do. Along with high street record store chains such as Andy’s and Our Price. Of course this may be showing the collective age of everyone in the office in a bad, or at least embarrassing light, but then we should never be ashamed of where we come from, or when we were born. Even if that was four decades ago.

In many ways the cassette is the most Romantic of all music media. Vinyl’s recent resurgence and re-positioning as the go-to platform for anyone who desperately wants to remove themselves from the Spotified world of throwaway pop has long been something of a cliche- there are even events now taking place wherein people pay to walk into a venue, just to listen to an album played off a record, such is the ‘coolness’ of black plastic. Whereas ten years back it was dying out, and rightly lamentable through rose-tinted glasses, now admitting to being a vinyl fan is one step away from declaring how you ‘might grow a beard’.

And there’s nothing remotely Romantic about that.

In contrast, the cassette is a very different beast indeed. Usurped by another forgotten relic, the MiniDisc, both were all about interaction, and the ability to decide on your own playlist. The difference between these and iTunes was that the playlist was kind of fixed- a running order specific to the time and place in which it was decided upon. Of course you could erase it, and start again, but given you’d actually have to listen to each track all the way through as recordings were done in real time, that’s not an undertaking many decided upon lightly.

There’s also the lower-case romance, too. Tapes are the medium for lovers to share their innermost thoughts on, the way boys told girls they liked them through carefully selected track titles, and the pile of things you’ll still have in a box, under your bed, long after the last CD has left the building. As such it’s no surprise to learn that for a third year running Cassette Store Day is set to take the world (or at least certain corners of it) by storm, with founding UK Indie labels Suplex Cassettes, Kissability and Sexbeat back in control, along with U.S. partners Burger Records, Australia’s Rice Is Nice, Arch Hill of New Zealand, Mansions and Millions and Spati Palace in Germany. Remember 22nd October then, when a host of events and happenings will be taking place across these territories, none of which anyone who remembers the humble tape should miss out on.

Image credit: (C) Frankie Leon (Creative Commons)

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