Having my first year in Austria free meant I had a lot of time to devote to my many hobbies: dog walking, writing, exercising… but of course a lesser-known hobby of mine is making mixed tapes. And even if I do say so myself… I consider myself quite good at it.
I started off very young… mixing cassette tapes off the radio: sitting for hours in my room with a tape in deck… waiting patiently for my favourite songs to come on and pressing play at exactly the right moment (kids these days have no idea!). As I got older, I progressed to purchasing tapes and mixing them together on blank ones… and of course making custom-printed covers for them on the computer!
The move to CD took me quite some time… for my 21st birthday my friends banded together to buy me an in-car CD player that worked from the tape deck (remember those?). I think I used it all of twice, so addicted to my cassette tapes I was.
Eventually I made the move to CD, but it wasn’t long before I discovered the magic of MP3s. On an MP3 I could put over 150 of my favourite songs to last me on many a road trip.
It is a favourite gift of mine… even these days. For many years I was making the famous ‘MP3 of D’ which was a mix of all my favourite songs, updated every 3-6 months with new songs and given as a gift to my brother. I’ve made break up mixes, happy mixes, birthday mixes, wedding mixes and everything in between.
But now I’m onto the final frontier… the USB stick. It’s amazing… so many songs can be fitted on, and sorted into folders. I have the tried-and-tested MP3 of D, I have my ‘latest’ folder, a ‘driving’ folder, the list goes on… the possibilities are endless.
One thing that made me nostalgic when I left Australia was leaving behind my very extensive CD collection. Yes, even when songs were available for illegal download (or paid download) I still went to JB Hi-Fi and purchased entire CDs. And now, though I have a mostly audio-file-based collection, I still buy the odd CD. And it still gives me the same joy it always did. I know that these days the trend is to make ‘spotify’ mixes and so on, but that day hasn’t quite dawned for me yet. Long live the mixed tape, I say. Because even if the technology has been upgraded, the concept stays the same.