I had another dream about my lost cassettes from 20 years ago (remember? I dreamed about this previously). This time, I was not in a pawn shop. This time, beleaguered campus radio station CiTR (which in this world has had to resort to fundraising in the face of UBC budget reallocations and spiraling costs) was caught up in the mix. In the dream I happened by the station only to encounter a number of harried young volunteers pushing piles of boxes out of the station, and awkwardly tumbling down the stairs with them, piling them on the grass outside the SUB. Breathless half-reports was I able to glean from these frantic vollies, about the station closing down, could I help please? I decided that the decent thing to do would be to roll up my sleeves and help salvage the music library.
Upon entering the station I looked around for where help was needed most. It seems nobody was saving the cassette room, which had long been considered an eyesore at the station anyway. A half dozen volunteers desperately crammed collectable (though well-worn) rare vinyl into crates, along with CDs and oddball PSA carts, but none got their hands dirty with the tapes. Alarmed, I dove straight into the tape room, remembering too well (& far better than this group of apparently vintage-vinyl-obsessed 20-somethings) the time when a homemade cassette was the only affordable way to disseminate yr basement squawks.
Lo & behold, after about 10 minutes of packing, sorting through cassettes that were long out of their cases, barely identified, garnished with hopelessly faded scrawl over top of Maxell, TDK, Sony HR-90, and the like sticky label branding, there it was, on a bottom shelf, buried under a pile of Dayglo Abortions mixtapes – a small 3 by 8 by 12 brown suitcase, packed to overfull with home recorded cassettes, emblazoned with, in mine own hand, obscure titles that could only trigger distant, uncertain memories in two or three heads in the entire universe, mine being one of them. My lost tapes.
I’ve been neglecting the archiving project I committed myself to back in December. I suppose time is really of the essence here, and somehow those half-sorted piles of semiconductive 1/8 inch tape reels fashioned decades ago are sending me their last psychic plea, o’er piles of baby toys and documentation about the MIDI specification, which for some reason, I’ve never spent any time figuring out systematically until now…