Re-evaluating a twenty year-old mixtape

Mixtape Memories


Twenty years ago I was in the midst of a decade-long slog to tape every song I liked for posterity. Back then I didn’t know that one day you’d be able to obtain songs from the ether, just as I failed to anticipate that there would come a time when shiny Puma tracksuits would go out of fashion. You live, you learn.

The result of hours and hours of taping the charts (and in later years, The Evening Session and Mark Radcliffe) off the radio, I have dozens of tapes that quite effectively illustrate how my music taste (d)evolved through my teens and early twenties.

I thought it would be interesting – and humiliating – to go back to one of these tapes and take a look at what I could learn about the me I used to be.

My key findings were:

1. I had no clue how to create a running order.

2. I adhered to a music policy that bordered on the deranged.

3. I possessed very, very small handwriting (thanks to my primary school teacher Mr. Davies, whose strange, pathological hatred of anything larger than what you can squint at in the above image had done its damage).

So join me as we see how, within the space of one TDK D-90 – which covers, by the looks of it, late 1991 to early 1992 – one teenager’s taste managed to veer from Mariah Carey to Senseless Things; from Julia Fordham (??) to The Prodigy; from Ride to Shanice. This is the alluringly-titled Compilation 17.

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