Hands up, who remembers mix tapes?
I found one the other day, while I was emptying boxes, that an old girlfriend had made for me in the 90s. I couldn’t play it, of course, as I don’t have a tape deck anymore. Or a record player. Or a CD player. In fact, I don’t ‘physically’ own any music. It’s all in the ether. Intangible. Owned by Apple, Spotify, Youtube or some other super corporation.
It got me thinking about how I would go about making one now, if I felt the urge to translate my love through the medium of music to my new-found paramour.
So I wrote a poem about it. As you do.
Then I had an epiphany!
Why not go ahead and actually make the mix tape as part of the poem.
For ‘mix tape’, I mean playlist, obviously. So, here you are.
(The link to the playlist is at the end.)
By David Milligan-Croft
Don’t talk to me about love;
I was making mix tapes before you were born.
Speaking of which, just how old are you?
I may look old, but inside, I feel 33 1/3.
It was easier to record from vinyl.
That way you could avoid abrupt endings.
Fade in, fade out, like a Grandmaster Flash.
If you were slick, you might include excerpts
Of dialogue from old movies,
Or from great speeches like- ‘I have a dream!’
…That one day you’ll kiss me!
(Not sure that’s what MLK had in mind.)
Recording off the radio was an art form.
You’d need the dexterity of a nuclear fission scientist
And a Watergate wiretapper to operate
Play, pause and record simultaneously,
Before some schmaltzy DJ chimed in with his drivel.
And if your tape got chewed up
From too much stopping and starting,
You’d have to pull it all out until you found the kinks,
Straighten it, then stick a pencil in the spool
And rewind it all back in again.
Praying it doesn’t happen while she’s listening to
Je t’aime moi non plus.
I hope you like it.
It took me a whole weekend to put together.
Quite good fun though. Reminiscing, and all that.
I imagine you listening to it in your bedroom.
Lying on your bed, looking up at the ceiling.
Your long, velvet hair cascading over the pillow,
Thinking of me, thinking of you.
Except we’re not Gainsbourg and Birkin.
The lyrics say things I never could,
Would or should. And are more self-indulgent
Than a box of Thorntons. But what can I do?
I’m just a 20th Century Boy in love with a 21st century girl.
για τη δέκατη μούσα μου