Music has always been a constant in my life, from when I was a very young human. My taste in music may have expanded over the years, and it changes according to my mood, but there are some constants throughout.
Every now and again on social media there will be some kind of music challenge – 10 songs that changed your life, 20 albums that influenced you, etc – and I will always participate, because it is so absolutely core to me. Even when I do not listen to music for weeks on end because, well, life gets in the way.
I bought my first walkman when I was 9 years old. It was a cheap piece of shit, but it was a start.
When I was 10, I saved my pocket money for months until I had enough to go and buy a good walkman. This one was much better.
When I was 12, I again saved my pocket money and finally bought myself a boombox – except I would never have called it a boombox. It was a deluxe double tape deck FM/AM radio. The double tape deck was the important thing, because it was the time of mix tapes.
And taping your favourite songs from the radio.
That was an art in itself. You had to time it perfectly. You had to know the first few beats of the song, and hit the button just as the DJ stopped talking, and then hit the pause button – never stop, always pause – as the song approaches the last few beats, just before the ad for got knows what ruins the ending completely.
And this is why you needed a double tape deck.So you can edit out these little annoyances. And compile the songs in an order that tells a story – mostly that you are making googly eyes at some guy :)
My walkman and I went everywhere. There was no greater freedom than me, my bicycle, long summer days and my walkman. I would cycle around the neighbourhood aimlessly, just so I could listen to music. It was glorious.
These days, my phone is my walkman, and I have Spotify – so there is no need to wait next to the radio to hear my favourite song to make a compilation, and I have the world’s music at my finger tips, for the most part. There are still a few favourite bands that are not on Spotify, but I can savour them at the right moments.
So I’ve been making a bit of a mixtape again. A mixtape with no limits. And every song I love. It is a work in progress, a labour of love.