The concept seems incredibly quaint these days, a relic from when i-Pobs and web-thingies were science-fiction, and we all hung around the shopping centre in our dreary city centres, sneaking an illicit fag in the hope that we’d not been spotted by a friend of our mother’s.
And yet in the not too distant past we really did make tapes for each other; C60, C90 – the cassette tucked into the stereogram, REC and PAUSE simultaneously depressed. A stack of vinyl – usually 7” records but not exclusively so – would be deposited by the turntable, and then down to the serious business: it wasn’t just the tracks you chose, but also the order in which they were presented, for underpinning the tracklisting lay a series of subtle, coded messages:
“Will you go out with me?”. “I’m actually quite cool”. “I’m sorry”. “I think I’m in love with you”.
(And then, if you were lucky, a week or so later you’d receive a reply in kind; usually a cassette full of tracks you weren’t too keen on, or tracks you already had, and embedded within the tracklisting:
“No”. “You’re probably not that cool”. “So you should be”. “You’re probably just dreaming”).
The Members of the British Empire / He’s Making a Tape