buy blank cassette tapes
I was 12, whole world was 12
can’t blame the DJ
” My idea of fun was to go – late at night and at my own peril – to Colony Records in Times Square to buy 10-packs of blank cassette tapes to record off the radio. My goal was to edit out the commercials. My dream was to be a DJ. Now you have 1,000 songs in your pocket and it’s all on you; you can’t blame the DJ any more.” says actress Diane Lane in a recent interview.
Ms. Lane continued, “It was an exciting time in America in 1976. We were 200 years old and very proud. We’d got rid of Nixon and we had hubris and joy. As Americans we had a sense of humour about ourselves, so our music had a sense of humour that hasn’t been around since. Everything had this goofy sense of humour, which was great fun for teenage girls to dance to. When I was 12, it was like the whole world was 12.”
That term ‘blank cassette” rang a bell in my soul that tingled all the way to toes.
I remember my Humanities 370 instructor at Grand Rapids Junior College, Chuck Buffam, talking about music and copyright laws and the fact that Musicland in the mall would display the top selling albums of the day next to stacks of blank cassette tapes.
All the display needed was a sign that said, “Make a copy for your friends!”
Who needed to be told?
Ms. Lane’s thoughts also brought to mind recording off the radio.
I had a college roommate who would do that.
He would spend hours waiting for a favorite song with his finger on the record button.
He would also spend hours calling in requests for a certain song.
I think I may have related this story before.
The really funny part of this story was that the refrigerator in our apartment was dying a slow death from old age.
When it kicked on, it would overload the circuits or something and the lights would dim for a second or two.
And it would create some sort of audio interference on our stereo system that would create a bbbbbbwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwapppppp sound.
I can’t remember how many times this turned up on my roommates tapes but it happened often.
Music would be playing and the lights would flicker and then the bbbbbbwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwapppppp sound would come.
My roommate would scream and we knew he was making tapes.
He got so frustrated that he would unplug the fridge when he was creating tapes.
This was bad as he often forgot to plug it back in.
It wouldn’t be noticed until the ice in the freezer melted and water was all over the kitchen floor.
Mop the floor or quick eat all the ice cream?
So the water waited for a bit.
But I digress.
I would make tapes from the radio as well.
I loved to make tapes of radio stations in the summer time of stations like WLS in Chicago with Fred Winston and Larry Lujack and then play them in the winter.
Weather updates would be for hot weather and the songs would all be beach songs.
This could change the mood on any January afternoon in Michigan.
Now I carry 1,000s of songs in my pocket.
I have so many songs that it overwhelms my iPhone’s ability to play them all randomly.
I have songs I want to hear and rarely hear.
I have songs I want to hear and don’t even know it.
I can’t blame the DJ anymore.
I love that whole quote from Ms. Lane.
I can remember the excitement of having a 10 pack of blank cassette tapes.
Add to that when you are 12, the whole world is 12 and all there is possibilities.
Maybe that is the secret to the fountain of youth.
I don’t mean the fountain but the search for the fountain.
In Citizen Kane, Charles Foster Kane tells Susie he was going to a warehouse in search of his lost youth.
When Charles Foster Kane dies his last thoughts are of his childhood.
I live in a community that does a brisk business in bike rental to old folks.
They offer the chance to be a kid again.
Oh the freedom.
Oh the power.
Oh the possibilities.
When you are 12.