I’m going through all the audio tape collections spread across the years – a suitcase, a large tea tin, a banana box and various loose locations. Almost nothing was in its correct case.
I imagine 4005: space explorers in tinted faceless helmets excavating a desertified planet where sense can be pieced together for most things, but the odd artefact will stick out like a tape case with a small bit of notepaper in it with a list of songs and no tape. They’ll use their advanced technology to restore an extremely smashed up, torn and mangled copy of Swervedriver’s really good tape, Raise.
I was late into buying music – at 12 or 13yo I bought Robert Palmer – Heavy Nova. Regrettable I know, but made up for buy the 2nd thing I got which was Talking Heads, Naked. I don’t know what it was that made me get that – whether I’d seen a videoclip or two of their older stuff, the commercial radio friendly stuff from True Stories and Little Creatures, or maybe it was just the picture of the monkey on the cover. Either way, that’s one I’ll still own up to having. If I ever make a movie, or if it’s the movie that is my life – then the song, Blind, from that album will be on the soundtrack.
When I mentioned my hero bass players I forgot Tina Weymouth – one half of probably one of the best modern rhythm sections ever. I don’t any stands out over the other, but alll four of Talking Heads’ first four albums are classics – ’77, fear of music, more songs about buildings and food, and remain in light.
There’s a whole load of more regrettable stuff there, some of it prompted by reading Rolling Stone, which I did until I realised it was just a whole bunch of corporate music industry mutual cocksucking – Sting, Neville Brothers, almost anything by the Rolling Stones but particularly the Steel Wheels album, the Robert Cray band. Basically a good reason to have never taken that terrible trolley-boy after-school supermarket job in the first place because of the pocket money it gave and I wasted. Ma was right.
Not to mention things like Peter Gabriel’s So. Don’t ask me to explain it, but I hold Peter Gabriel singularly responsible for the whole 80s yuppie Wall st corporate greed is good thing. And as for Phil Collins, well, I don’t have to tell you what he’s responsible for. I know that the historical materialist view is that it’s not the individual who’s responsible for the turn of events in the grand scheme of things, but boy it’d be interesting to see what’d happen after getting hold of a time machine and ‘a few days to kill’, as the tagline for Predator 2 goes. Like taking out whatever airplane Genesis were on. Also, making sure that during WWII, George Bush Snr’s parachute didn’t open over the Pacific.
There’s a few tapes here that I don’t know where they came from – a Devo album and a PIL double album that I chucked on – over two minutes it got slower and slower until grinding to a complete halt. It’s easy to force glitch onto CDs and records but with tapes you just have to wait and let time do its work.
My personal theory is that they were from many and various housemates’ tape collections, but the tapes felt they were underused and defected into my collection, only to realise that it was no better here.
There’s about a million tapes of stuff off the radio from the 90s. Motivational tapes. There’s two tapes of arrest interviews featuring yours truly, ah fond memories. I taped over one side of one with a friend’s first radio show. And there’s several tapes with no cover and nothing written on them which I sadly don’t have time to listen to.