The other day I found an old mixtape I’d made sometime last century. It was like discovering an artefact in a dig. A rectangular, plastic blast from the past. Fond memories sprung to my mind of recording off the radio during Simon Bates’ top 40 and copying albums.
A warm, fuzzy feeling washed over me.
I turned it over in my hands like a precious stone, and stared at it in wonder, remembering the excitement with which I used to compile these bulky tapes. I recalled the joy of swapping mixtapes with friends and listening to them on my Walkman, always carrying a pencil around to help me rewind.
“What’s THAT?” Son2’s voice snapped me back to the present. He looked baffled. “Is it a phone?”
I laughed. “No, it’s a cassette tape. It plays music.”
He quickly lost interest, but then Son1’s curiosity was piqued. He picked up the rattly old tape, as confounded by it as his brother and equally oblivious to the joys of a new blank cassette waiting to be recorded onto. “What is it?”
“A music tape … I used to listen to these when I was a kid.”
“Really? How?” He looked for an on button, before holding it to his ear. “I can’t hear anything. Where do you plug the headphones in?”
“I know, you play it through the TV,” Son2 interrupted.
“No,” Son1 corrected. “They didn’t have TVs back then.”
Oh good Lord. It wasn’t that loooong ago.