Monday, July 16, 2012

pathetic. (mix tape)

Last week, my boss sent me this from his cellphone -- they were on the "impulse buy" shelf in Marc's in Berea.

My reaction was $6.29? For real, $6.29??? Those aren't on the "dollar" shelf?

Those are crap tapes, too. 'Normal Bias.' Those are for recording lectures with in a class through which you intend to sleep.

My attic is slowly but surely becoming denuded of cassettes. The problem is not the factory-produced albums on cassette. In spite of the hipster boom-box revolution, I have tried and failed to sell even the rarer items on hand -- unique "Not-For-Resale" radio interviews with Elvis Costello lifted from WXTQ, a hard-cased soundtrack to The Magic Christian, doesn't matter -- no one will spring for them on eBay or anywhere else.

 If I see this graphic one more time I am having everyone born between 1961 and 1981 murdered.

No, throwing all those away are easy. It goes without saying that every Maxell or Memorex with entire albums dumped onto it went first. No, they aren't the problem. It's all the mix tapes.

I am not going to revisit the emotional attachment to mix tapes that Nick Hornby did so successfully in High Fidelity (the book, not the movie, you philistine) suffice to say, yes, they each hold significant memories. They were each made at a significant time in my life, probably a depressing time in my life, because when you are happy you do not have time to cue up vinyl or a CD, start recording at the right point (listen to the previous track, crank the volume until the very last sound fades away, stop, eject, quarter turn back with you pinky, return to deck, hit record a breath before staring the next track) and wait until the song is over, in real time.

Mix discs created on iTunes are easy. No wonder they're all disjointed, thoughtless and awful. But then, you don't have to listen to a disc all the way through the way you have to with a cassette.

Recently I rediscovered the best mix tapes I ever made, ever. Three cassettes on a similar theme -- hating myself, and fucking.

pathetic. (1993)

The first -- pathetic. -- had a purpose. I tried to think of every song that made me feel like biting my pillow. Almost every single one had something to do with a woman from my past, or a man. The fact that I felt the urge to compose the ultimate self-loathing cassette a scant three months after I had just gotten married was probably not a good sign.

really pathetic. (1994)

The followup -- really pathetic. -- was not just more of the same. Many more of these were recent releases, specifically reflecting the state of my marriage. We were each searching for happiness outside the home (did I put that politely enough?) and speaking just for myself, I was in therapy, miserable, and feeling reckless. And yet there is Wham! on this, so I was still kind of a pussy.

pathetic and sad. (1995)

Having made the first, I had not intended to make a second. After the second, I did not imagine the third -- pathetic and sad. -- would be the last, nor that it would sound like this. Marriage over, a startling new relationship begun, these are the songs that made me think, "I'm sorry." But not to my ex-wife, nor any of those other women. I was apologizing to me.

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