From around 1982 until 1993 or thereabouts, I purchased several albums on cassette. The majority of my purchases, certainly until 1988 were on vinyl, but I do have a significant number of pre-recorded cassette albums.
The albums from the early years, up to July 1988, were bought mainly because my record emporium of choice at the moment of purchase didn’t have said album available on vinyl, or the cassette version was in a sale (I was a student between 1984 and 1987 and again for a brief spell in early 1988, so I was easily swayed by discount offerings).
July 1988 saw me purchase my first car (a dilapidated 9 year-old VW Derby, nicknamed the “Debris” by my mates as bits used to regularly fall off it – door handles, wing mirrors, random bits of metal from underneath….). But it did have a radio / cassette player, which probably accounted for about half the value of the vehicle. It was at this point where a total proliferation of cassette albums began. Why bother buying the vinyl when I’d have to transfer it onto a cassette to play in the car? I could just get a pre-recorded cassette instead – one or two even had bonus extra tracks!
It all ended abruptly in July 1993, when the future Mrs TGG and I started living together. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we splashed out on a CD player to add to our collective hi-fi equipment. Blur’s Modern Life Is Rubbish heralded the new dawn of what is a scarily huge collection of CDs. Within a couple of years, we had cars with CD players and the cassette albums have been pretty much gathering dust ever since, grand survivors of Mrs TGG’s many culls of “your crap”.
Some of those albums have been replaced with CD versions over the years – pretty much everything by R.E.M. and The Smiths among others. But many of those albums have not been played by me in their entirety for over a quarter of a century. I’m not sure what state the cassette tapes are actually in these days, and the sound quality of the one remaining device we have which is capable of playing them is somewhat grim. Thank goodness for streaming services.
This new series will see me revisiting these albums and seeing which, if any, I really wish I’d listened to a lot more over the last twenty-five years.
I’ve just listened to the album about which I intend to write the first article, and it will include a mention of a brief chat I had with the lead vocalist of said album (don’t get too excited, it’s unlikely to feature in his memoirs).
For some reason, this tune has been going through my head whilst typing the above.
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