Stop hoarding your memories: change the tape

editorial image

This week I have cruelly dumped a childhood friend who gave me years of constant companionship.

My trusty 1975 vintage ITT cassette recorder.

It originally belonged to a neighbour and I coveted it.

I used to listen in awe to what to my 12-year-old ears was wonderful audio quality - the psychedelic sweep of Pink Floyd and the power of Led Zeppelin 4.

The music seeped into my adolescent consciousness and launched me into a lifetime of musical appreciation I could never have fathomed from Top of The Pops.

Eventually he bought a HIFI music centre studded with sparkling LEDs which flashed like Blackpool Illuminations - and for a nominal fee the ownership of the precious recording device was transferred to me.

No free MP3 downloads then - I became an old-school music pirate under a different flag - the dreaded home-taper.

I was the envy of my friends as I taped John Peel sessions and the world of punk rock, ska and goth became mine.

I would tape the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, Monty Python and Derek and Clive. All in glorious low-noise stereo.

Countless albums and singles were heaped onto C120 Boots Audio and Scotch cassettes.

My circle of friends formed a front-room band and used it to record several albums worth of what we thought were full of incisive political commentary and pithy rudeness.

They were rubbish - adapting the lyrics of chart songs accompanied by tinny electric guitars and clothes-bin drums aint clever.

The type of songs that you played at the end of parties to get rid of stragglers and made you even less attractive to girls.

Eventually after years of constant abuse and one too many tapes wrapped around its capstan, the ITT’s arthritic rubber drive wheels gave up the ghost and it warbled into disrepair.

Even rubbing the heads with soothing alcohol failed to revive it. The DIN socket was dimmed forever, but I couldn’t bear to part with it. I kept it like a stuffed pet.

It was shoved in a cupboard longside a chemistry text book and a yellowing edition of Sounds.

Fast-forwarding to this weeked, I watched the sad TV spectacle of a hoarder driving himself into an early grave as rubbish piled up in his house.

He was sitting on the stairs among heaps of rotting food trying to decide whether or not to throw out a carrier bag full of old newspapers.

This plunged me into a bout of decluttering. Out went the magazines old cardboard boxes and sundry rugs I was saving for a rainy day.

But the experience of finally parting with one item in particular brought it home to me just how unhealthily attached you can get to THINGS. I held the former object of my desire in my hand for the last time, wiped a tear - and binned it.