Tapes have recently been named THE 80s music media by some daily broadsheet. But for some reason tapes haven't died just yet in the 21st century. Now why is that, when you can have portable CD players and handy Minidisc things? One reason could be that portable CD players are so big you will lose all your dignity when you try to shove them into your pockets (obviously we're talking BIG pockets here). As for MD players, they are still horrendously expensive and the whole MD business never seems to have taken off properly. Good! Minidiscs look impersonal, they're too small (ever tried finding a minidisc at the bottom of a cluttered handbag?) and making a mix-minidisc for someone is usually a very bad idea, because it simply doesn't look as nice as a good old tape. Bis knew what they were talking about when they announced 'make me a mixtape and I'll be your friend'.
Still, tapes seem to be going downhill these days. What has happened to the 80s home-taping mafia? Somewhere between vinyl and CD, albums on tape seemed to be a popular choice for the hip 80s youngster. Now we all have CD burners and indulge in false perfection when it comes to copying music. Boring! Boring! Boring! What happened to the process of patiently making a mixtape? Now we just set our computers up, wait for half an hour and end up with a ready-to-go compilation of tracks. What happened to those 90-odd minutes we used to spend rummaging through our music collection in order to find a certain song whilst taping another? What happened to D.I.Y tapes done on bad hi-fis that go 'klonk!' every time you hit the record button? Doesn't anyone else miss that? What happened to the thrills of unlabelled tapes we kept finding under our beds and in shoeboxes? The amusement of finding tapes we recorded off the radio in our early teens?
Nowadays it all seems to be about perfection and up-to-scratch sound quality. It reminds me of these washing powder ads for stuff that now washes your whites 'even whiter'. To me, white is white, full stop. As for music, I personally couldn't care less about fuzzing and buzzing noises or tapes sounding underwater when your walkman's batteries die. So, should anyone feel the urge to make me a mixtape, feel free to do so!