"Thank you for the music, Mr Ottens. Nothing will ever top the mixtape
The death of the inventor of cassettes should sadden anyone for whom they were the final word in cool"
I remember the challenge of timing out your music selection so that one side of the cassette finished on a completed song. Otherwise it was rudely cut off.
I also remember loaning my LP of Neil Diamond - Moods to Dave K who did his cassette copy and had to buy me a replacement LP as he had left Neil Diamond in his car in the hot sun!
Fellow Unforgettable Music Society member Jim Wolf used to work closely with me in sourcing material and Jim will know how we used to be offered cassette tape collections from deceased estates from Unforgettable Music Society members who wondered what they might do with their parents' collection of music on cassette. Plus we were offered cassette copies of songs recorded off air (Dave of Te Aroha comes to mind)and people talked about how they used to try and avoid the back announcements. Sometimes these were our best offerings of rare material - until Alex Farkash came on the scene and was constantly adding to his digital collection.
to a copy & paste of the article by Barbara Ellen
The inventor of the cassette tape, Lou Ottens, has died, aged 94. It’s quite a moment for those of us whose youths were defined by the humble mixtape, the ecstasy and the agony of all those unspooling C90s and twisted-up C60s. I take that back: there was nothing humble about the mixtape. A great mixtape was a work of art, requiring focus and vision. The careful selections. The all-important order. The different-coloured pens. The naming of the tape across the spine (felt-tip, bubble graphics, perhaps a tragic years-too-late anarchy symbol). Occasionally, you’d find old, cracked cases in your pocket, or at the bottom of bags, sometimes in two pieces, like a broken heart, and you’d scan titles, wincing at Former You’s poor choices. The Bangles slapped next to Wire? Was I some kind of monster? I say “attention to detail”, you say “clear signs of neuroticism bordering on sociopathy”, and maybe we’re both right. Now there’s Spotify but, back then, mixtapes were the ultimate expression of the high-voltage, gloriously unreasonable teenage brain. They represented hinterland (“This is who I am and I should probably apologise for that”); dexterity (finger poised to turn the record button on and off at the right moment); criminality (if home taping was killing music, we all had blood dripping from our hands); frustration (your mum boiling a kettle halfway through a track); and, of course, romance: the giving/receiving of a mixtape was the supreme heartfelt gesture, the sonnet of its time, albeit one that sometimes ended in heartbreak and pettiness: “I don’t like you any more. Give me my tape back.” Mixtapes allowed music fans to be their own superstar DJs and, crucially, they were all about autonomy. You could slip a tape into your machine of choice (tinny tape recorder, dinky Walkman, full-throated ghetto blaster) and go wandering, anywhere you liked. In this way, the mixtape was as portable as a good book. If you got it right, it was equally inspiring, an anthology of sound.
My efforts to 'insert' the link into this post, don't seem to be working, so meantime