your cassette pet: the tape celebrated
your cassette pet: the tape compilation celebrated
your cassette pet: the tape celebrated
your cassette pet: the tape compilation celebrated


Everything has probably been written about the demise of, physically holding a piece of music. The golden age of devouring the inner and outer contents of an LP are now reserved for the audiophile with faders set to retro. Compact Disc sales figures are at an all-time-low – digital sound is available on an mp3 file. Many see ”“ physically packaging music ”“ as clutter. But what about the other format for storing music: the audiocassette? Well, it never really rivalled its vinyl counterpart, but it did have two advantages: it allowed music to be mobilised, and secondly, allowed favourite songs to be compiled in one place. But there’s a third use: the romantic gesture!

What sometimes seems like the great divide: a common ground/communication between a man and a woman ”“ can be crossed with music. A compilation tape (normally compiled by a boy, for a girl) made to express feelings. A collection of songs, more than a remnant of things said, more than a remnant of feelings shared. How many times have you heard, “They are playing our song?” Chances are, “our song” was one of a batch, which could be fitted onto a C90.

So, what are the rules and how do you compile a winner? Songs that carry memories – need to be added. These will include: the first dance song or, song from a movie date etc. Next are: songs adored by both parties. Tracks introduced to one another ”“ little love gifts. You also have the musical numbers that share the same name as the recipient. There aren’t many girls’ names not covered in song. Boy’s names ”“ not so popular! You could take a risk, and it is a risk, of including a new song, which you love and think they’ll also love. If they like it, you’ve played a blinder, if they don’t like it, and you’ve second-guessed wrongly what they might like: you’ll be questioned what you really know about her, sorry – them! And it will not just be about musical tastes.

The modern equivalent of a well thought-out running order, which is shared with and wound by that special person, is: emailing a file over the World Wide Web! Another way is through social networking: tagging that special person in a song you’ve shared from YouTube, on Facebook ”“ complete with soppy comment. Of course, you can always inbox the songs, keeping that song special, keeping ”Ëœour songs’ sacred ”“ but most of all ”“ keeping those who question romance, and the misanthrope – happy.

MP3’s are now being copied onto cassette. Retro nights are popping up ”“ where mix tapes are being played to London scenesters ”“ where Peaches and Pixie Geldof will probably host a night and have a guest DJ slot. If asked whether they were using Dolby NR, the unfortunate named two would probably respond with: “No, we are staying off the gear tonight.”

One last thing! If we forget about the actual audio content, there’s another personal touch missing from MP3 sharing: the artist and song, written in ink on a cassette sleeve. Some might say, “so what, not much of a miss!” Maybe, but an audio file also misses out on a sloppily drawn love heart. Doesn’t carry the same romanticism, does it?

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  1. I’ve never really stopped using tapes, I still make mixes for my friends who have tape players in their cars, still record gigs on a little Sony handheld recorder and if I’m feeling cheeky, I might record a new album when a website puts a stream up. The cassette is a wonderful bit of kit for any music fan or musician, you can even decorate them all over.


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