Friday, April 30, 2010

My Magnetic Youth

Over the weekend, my husband and I were sorting through some old things in preparation for a yard sale (Get this, we just get to take our stuff to the sale our friends are hosting--is this not the best way to yard sale or what?!)

One of the things we found was an old zip storage case full of cassette tapes. More to the point--mix tapes.

Now I am not usually one to long for the past. I love modern conveniences (to the point that I fantasize about how fabulous it would be to move to college in the age of laptops and iPods). And I still make a mean playlist. Don't believe me? Check here, here and here.

But seeing these mix tapes gave me a pang of regret. Regret for today's teenagers, who don't know the experience of sitting on the floor, surrounded by a pile of CDs, tapes, or even the radio (hey, desperate times call for desperate measures), and plotting out the perfect collection of songs to express the moment. Whether that moment was for yourself, a friend, a crush, or the love of your high school life, there was a soundtrack. And in my world, the song selections were just the beginning.

Next came the title. I poured over quote books, scoured the inner corners of my mind, chewed the end of my pen as I tried to out-clever myself.

These titles are:
Beatles for Beginners
"Rock and Roll is the Hamburger that Ate the World."
Elizabeth's Extra Tasty Crispy Yummy Tape
Adrenaline, Anyone?
It Makes My Estrogen Want to Tango*
*(note the terrorist-like use of cut out words/letters from magazines)
Beatles for the Advanced Listener
La Cantatrice Chauve
Joe's Rockin' Mix Tape o' Kick Ass Songs

And once that sweet, sweet mix was laid out and named, I took on Cover Art. My medium of choice? Stickers. Inside and out, cassette and its case.

So dedicated was I to the art of the Mix Tape, that I occasionally even made liner notes. Yes, there are more stickers.

Here was a laundry list of my thoughts about some of the selections for Beatles for the Advanced Listener. This particular mix was made for the man who would become my husband.

And I'll never show you what was inside the liner notes. A girl needs some secrets ;)

I was never, and am still not a journaler. I didn't even have one in high school. These tapes--the deliberation, the dedication, the art, and science of distilling a state of mind into two reels of magnetically coated plastic--these are my journals. Or as the Barenaked Ladies might say, "This is me in Grade 9, baby, this is me in Grade 9."

- Liz


Alan said...

This is a very interesting blog and so i like to visit your blog again and again. Keep it up.


Kristan said...

WOW, you WERE devoted to the art of mixtape. I pretty much only recorded songs off the radio that I wanted to listen to (but didn't like enough to want to buy the whole album). I have since converted my entire music collection to mp3s and haven't looked back. :P

Kristan said...

That said, if I were as talented at mix tapes as you seem to be, I probably would be all nostalgic about them too. :P

Elizabeth said...


eleven said...

The stuff in your liner sounds just like your sweet quirky self. Funny how you are who you are, both now and then.

I'm generally oblivious to the music industry, and it was much much worse during the era of mixed tapes, so I never made one.

I used to be into handwriting analysis. It's fascinating how the style of your As changes a third of the way into your laundry list of thoughts on the selections. Your font also gets slightly bigger, and you add the very slightest uphill slant at the end.

Liz Czukas said...

Thanks for giving me some mix tape lovin' ladies.

@Kristan - you missed out hon, but I can't blame you, you're such a baby-fraiby compared to me.

@Sharon - thanks for commenting! I'm glad you like the blog.

@Elizabeth - ;)

@11 - I should have known. My handwriting doesn't look much like that anymore--recognizable, yes, but less childish. I think. My high school friends called it Elizabethan font, because it was very even.