Anniversaries: Mine and The Cassette Tape

Welcome back to the random ramblings of a mad man!

Last week, WordPress informed me that I started my blog TWO YEARS ago. Seems like the two years have passed by in a blur.

Speaking of anniversaries, I recently watched a news report on the old BBC about the history of the cassette tape. Yes. I need to get out more, but one person they interviewed spoke about how he’d never stopped buying tapes. I didn’t realise you COULD still buy them but hey ho!

He had his humongously clunky Walkman draped around his neck like an Olympic medal and commented that as tapes were not small enough to carry a hundred around with you so you HAD to listen to the same album over and over. You found gold.

English: An audio cassette tape.

English: An audio cassette tape. Credit: Wikipedia

We do live in a more bite-sized world. iTunes and Amazon (amongst others) allow us to cherry pick what we want. We have the smörgåsbord to pick at rather than listen to the music as the artist intended. We might now miss the gold.

I have over 2,500 songs on my iPhone and I do like to shuffle the tracks, but I realised when listening to this proud, Walkman wearing man from the 80s that I need to listen to full albums again. Some of my favourite tracks of all time were never the popular songs. I might have missed out otherwise.

It also served as a reminder to the power of the time bound story. For people of a certain age, those who actually remember vinyl and tapes before the digital age, these type of details can instantly take a reader back to that time. The little details make all the difference.

The Walkman

The Walkman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you listen to your music?

Are you still hankering back to the days of Vinyl and do you remember the joy of tapes when they got wrapped around the cassette player and you’d need to spend half an hour unwinding and rewinding it again?

Thanks for reading now, and your support over the last two years.


About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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42 Responses to Anniversaries: Mine and The Cassette Tape

  1. Gwen Stephens says:

    Congrats on your blogging landmark, Peter, and I’m glad you’re back. Your posts are always so enjoyable. Funny you mention not listening to albums anymore, as my husband was feeling the same. He recently discovered that you can find all kinds of albums on YouTube and listen to them for free. So for the past week, he’s been taking the iPad into his home office and listening to full albums of Journey, the Stones, the Moody Blues, and more while he works.

  2. The same thought occurred to me the other day – about not listening to full albums anymore. It really is a shame, because for some artists, the album is like a narrative and the order is significant. I guess the other question to ask is how music packaging has changed, with people being able to cherry pick singles.

    Congrats on your blog’s 2nd anniversary!

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Michelle.

      I suppose it’s like only ready chapter 4, 7 and 14 of the latest novel. It just wouldn’t make sense and some albums the thread is there.

      I’m going to listen to more albums in future. The way they were intended 🙂

  3. davidprosser says:

    I still have my albums and though the cassette has long since left the building I’ve till got my music videos. One minor hiccup is that I haven’t got a video player anymore and no-one wants videos, not even charity shops. I can’t find my MP3 player ( thanks Ju) so I still have to listen to CD’s though in honesty I’m at the desk so often it’s usually Youtube choices now.

    • Pete Denton says:

      I know. Videos are so outdated as well and I remember the buzz when we got our first machine and thought it was so cutting edge. I have the entire original Star Trek series on video and it will never be watched again!

      Enjoy your CDs, I’m sure the MP3 will turn up. Eventually 🙂

  4. Two years, that’s wonderful! I no longer have a decent player, but nothing beats vinyl.

  5. I had a great little cassette tape walkman that was the center of my existence as a teenager. I loved that thing and I was so sad the day it died! These days, I’m a hardcore fan of the iPod classic. No touch screens or internet capability for me – just massive amounts of space for all my songs. 🙂

    • Pete Denton says:

      I loved my Walkman too, just a shame the batteries didn’t last long enough. iPods have changed the way we listen to music and I’m glad to be able to listen to it on the bus again 🙂

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    Congratulations on the two-year anniversary! And boy do those cassette tapes take me back. I remember friends rewinding them by sticking a pencil through one of the holes, and spinning the cassette around — all so they wouldn’t wear out the batteries to quickly by using the rewind button on the Walkman. Ah, the days when listening to music involved a receiver/tuner, turntable, tape deck, and large, detached speakers. I have to admit the iPod is a lot simpler. But my husband and I have uploaded a lot of complete CDs to it and will still listen to albums from start to finish as the artists intended.

    I wonder if newer artists still set a particular order or just throw the songs on randomly, knowing that’s how most people will hear them?

    • Pete Denton says:

      Ah the pencil spinning tapes. I remember it well 😀

      I bet many artists these days probably don’t arrange their music the way older bands/artists did. I am trying to listen to more the whole way through though. 🙂

  7. EllaDee says:

    Congratulations on 2 years 🙂
    I haven’t yet moved on from CDs, as both cars have stackers and our stereo system (with cassette player!) is still operational, but the CDs are downloaded to the old laptop (which has a CD slot) and bluetoothed to our smartphones. So we mostly listen to albums 🙂
    I think we even have an old portable CD player somewhere.
    Our music collection would cost a fortune to replicate, which has happened when CDs replaced cassettes. Although there still are a couple of baskets of cassettes stashed somewhere, mainly nostaglia value as they are from my school years, and the covers chonicle that time of my life via messages written by friends therein.
    However, I also love listening to old clips via youtube, and new music on Spotify, and US radio via TunedIn.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks 🙂

      I like that there are so many different ways we can now listen to music. I’ve recently bought a few CDs off ebay, but for new releases iTunes seems to win.

      Nostalgia is always a great reason to listen to music so having your school years chronicle that time is great. 🙂

  8. 4amWriter says:

    Happy 2-year anniversary! I still have my Walkman, a big, bright yellow Sony. I never got around to throwing it away, even though I’ll never use it. I usually listen to music online or songs that I downloaded onto my computer. I have to say I’m kind of picky with music, and I only like a handful of songs per album. As old school as I am, I do love the fact we now have the option to buy songs by themselves instead of the whole album.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Kate. I’m glad you’re keeping the old Walkman. Definitely better than throwing it away. We certainly have more choice now with being able to buy one or two tracks rather than paying for the full album. Happy listening 🙂

  9. Congratulations on 2 years. As I look upon my collection of vinyl and cassettes and 8 tracks, I realize that the songs I enjoy the most are not the hits but the tracks that were never released as singles. Also, when listening to ‘mixes’ I find myself remembering what song came next on the album and wishing it played next.

  10. Congrats .. and oh, how I remember the little darlings.

  11. This took me back. I remember thinking that pencils were the perfect thing for rewinding the tape because they had the ridges. Plus they would get backed up and wound too tight if you listened to the same song too often. Good times! 🙂

    I have always been more of a pick and choose listener, but there are some albums that deserve a full listening to. If I hadn’t had vinyl, I might never have found “Lord of the Thighs” from Aerosmith (Get Your Wings album) or fallen in love with Jim Carroll by listening to every song on the “Catholic Boy” album.

    What really ticks me off now is that I could listen to albums for an eternity, countless times, but now the companies want to limit music to 7 devices or some such nonsense. I feel like Agent K in “Men in Black” lamenting how he has to buy Led Zeppelin’s white album again.

  12. Happy Two-Year Anniversary! Yes, I still have cassette tapes–they hold the music I select (up to 10 tunes) for each of my DansKinetics and Yoga PLUS classes I teach at the Durango Arts Center dance studio that has a player built-in on the wall. But if I’m flying, it’s definitely Mp3 and huge earphones. At home it’s CDs–so I can enjoy the subtle transitions some artists do for their albums. After surgery, when I mostly used the Mp3 player, I discovered all these bits I’m missing by not listening to the complete album.

  13. I miss the concept of albums as stories. When I like a singer, I usually download the whole CD so I can experience the entire thing as they intended. 🙂 I remember cassettes and vinyl. Faster isn’t always better. 😉

  14. Jemima Pett says:

    Happy anniversary, Pete! Time flies. It’s less than eight weeks to the second anniversary of my first ebook.

    I still occasionally play tapes in the car. I like the certainty of what’s coming next when driving, especially long distances. And I can sing along with nobody complaining!

  15. Congrats on your two year anniversary. Good grief, your blog this time took me back. I still love my old vinyls and actually have something to play them on, but tapes and I never got along. I did spend a lot of time trying to rewind them and gave up listening to music in frustration, until my daughter got me an Ipod. Love that little gizmo, and I have everything on it from rock to jazz and Big Band.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Noelle. I’d had quite a hiatus until I bought an iPod too. Tapes were frustrating at times and battery draining, but at least they let you take music our of the house. Train journeys were much more palatable thanks to music.

      Happy listening 🙂

  16. Jools says:

    Congratulations and welcome back, Pete. My memories align with yours – I grew up on 45’s and LP’s but my real love was cassettes. In the days before iTunes playlists I loved making cassettes full of my favourite tracks to take on holiday. Mucking about with a tape-to-tape recorder all Saturday afternoon seemed so… cutting-edge!

  17. Well done on two years! The time flies by. Enjoyable reading.

  18. cassmob says:

    I even remember (and own) my grandmother’s old gramophone records, vinyl and all types of tapes…yikes I must be old!

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