by RICK MORTON
I’ve never made a mix-tape for someone I love, probably because it would be 20 tracks of ‘Build me up Buttercup‘ and signed with my very own tears. Ahem.
But I’ll tell you now I’ve made plenty of my own. Back before we owned a computer that could burn CDs I would spend most of my weekends listening to commercial radio with a blank tape in the deck, finger hovering over the ‘record’ button.
I was waiting patiently for songs I enjoyed to come on the radio, arms contorted while laying on the bed, muscles spraining. Mix-tape yoga. A song would come on and I’d be snapped out my torpor by the dazzling refrain of Kylie Minogue’s Spinning Around and scrambling to mash the buttons.
Invariably, I’d miss the first few seconds of the song. Sometimes the announcer would mention the song was coming up and I’d prematurely hit ‘record’, capturing a competition number or the last few seconds of a news update.
“…police say they’ve yet to locate a suspect. [Music starts] I just can’t get you out of my head…”
It would take an entire weekend, 48-hours of monotonous reclining, to get one mix-tape recorded.
I’d label it with stupid, terribly-hard-to-file names like Rick’s super fun mega happy song mix or Definitely do not play this tape MUM and then I’d spend the next week listening to them as I went to sleep, secretly moving my feet to the rhythm of All the small things by Blink 182.I quite happily made my own, but no-one ever made one for me. That wasn’t really how we rolled.
I moved house, left my hometown, started my career. All mix-tape-less. And then I met Bridie, a fellow newspaper cadet who was just as continuously broke as I was, which gave us something to bond over.
We’d drive to and from university and work together with her music selection blaring. I couldn’t stand most of it. “Bridie, it actually sounds like these people ran over a tin can with a lawnmower,” I’d shout.
“YEAH I KNOW, ISN’T IT GREAT?” she’d respond, never really hearing my remark.
Then she handed me a CD. “I put some songs on there for you,” she said. Great. 60 minutes of haunted wailing. Just perfect.
And then I listened to it and every song hit the mark. I mean, really, really, really hit the mark.
From Architecture in Helsinki’s ‘Beep Song‘ to Hot Chip’s ‘Ready for the Floor‘ it was perfect. And then, somewhere in the seven moves I’ve done since, I left it behind. But that’s what you do with mix-tapes, right? They’re meant to capture a moment and that moment was four years ago.
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If you had to make a mix-tape today for yourself or for a friend, what songs would you put on it?
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