OPINION: Oh the ‘joys’ of cassettes

Despite celebrating the big 5-0 earlier this year, it was only this week when I realised I was getting old.

The realisation came to me while watching a video which popped up in my Facebook newsfeed of young children not knowing what to do with a music cassette tape. They were shaking it, looking for the on-off buttons, putting it to their ears to “hear” it.

These kids had no idea what they were looking at or how the tape even worked.

It’s so easy for these young whipper-snappers to download their music onto their smart phones or a USB.

But these kids are missing out on a lot.

They will never know the joy of pressing the on-off buttons of the tape recorder while Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 songs were playing on the radio on a Sunday night. But you had to be quick not to get the radio announcer’s voice on the recording.

They will never know the joys of compiling a mix tape for your Valentine. They will also never know the frustration of trying to dislodge a tape stuck in the player and then using a pen to carefully wind it back in.

They will never know the heartache when the tape finally snaps and you’re left with two halves of a whole of Queen’s top hits, that cassette you’ve played over and over in your bedroom or in the car.

During a spring clean-out of our cupboards at home, I found a collection of cassette tapes from my teenage years. Among the tapes was music by Suzi Quatro (which brought back wonderful memories of singing into a hair brush); Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms; a double of Elton John’s very best; not to mention INXS, Peter Gabriel and a couple of self-compiled mix tapes from a gazillion years ago.

I was going to keep them, but I have nothing to play them on. So I put them in the throw-away pile which also included those video tapes from years gone by. You know the movies … Ghost, Little Rascals, the entire collection of Indiana Jones and much, much more.

I was sad to see them go. Ah well, surely they’re on Netflix?

This story Oh the ‘joys’ of cassettes first appeared on The Courier.