Oh I did have a lovely time on my birthday. Totally unexpected and unplanned (by me, at any rate), and I certainly wasn’t expecting any presents from my friends to mark the occasion. After all, it’s not as if I need anything at all. But, over the past week, by Anne’s cupcake decorated by her darling children, the pile of books from Tara & from Hannah, Clare’s genius knife sharpener, Lisa’s lunch at The Reform Club, and Miss P’s giant bunch of tulips, & the cards, calls & emails from around the world, I was spoilt like a small spoilt thing.
And then there was this mixtape. Oh A, this was truly the most amazing thing I have unwrapped in years. She & I both grew up in the era of mixtapes, where we would sit with a double tape deck on our stereo, recording tracks one by one from one cassette to another to form playlists. They were a huge labour of love — you needed to listen to the whole track whilst recording it, so it could take hours to put together. If you decided a track was in the wrong place then tough luck — you’d either need to record another track over it (which needed to be the same length) or start all over again. And, of course, you needed to write down the entire track listings so the recipient knew what they were listening to.
They were the ultimate friendship or romance gesture.
And darling A found this brilliant tape case, which hides an MP3 inside, thereby bringing the mixtape bang up to date. She sent her husband out to buy different coloured biros to write the track listings on the cassette liner, for that authentic 80s feel too. A has a house full of infants, a demanding job and has been a bit poorly. That she took the time to make me this made me cry. In a good way.
I’m super excited to upload it all — A is Very Important in the music industry, & she tells me that this is all the music she & her team have been loving this year. I feel extremely unhip — I recognise about three names on the entire listing. Oh how I have changed. Time was when I recognised every name in the NME & Melody Maker, & on the Glastonbury lineup, and really only wanted music that was released on white label 12″ vinyl. Sigh.
If you fancy giving someone you care about their very own mixtape this Christmas, then they are available on Amazon here