A Lasting Walkman Memory

The cassette Walkman is 30 years old. I must admit the young me was less than impressed when she first saw the concept (I remember thinking ‘I doubt many people will want one of those’) but got to listen to one in a record store that also sold audio goods and the sound through headphones was, for the time just amazing.tp-s30

Good First Choice

In reality I only ever owned two cassette Walkmans. The first was a veritable  Rolls Royce: The Aiwa TP-S30 (pictured). It was for me a multi function device because it could record as well as play back so I got to record some college lectures (in binaural stereo too), use as a dictation machine and for a brief period even turned its hand to discretely recording a few live rock concerts (bootlegging, moi?).

Preserved In Sound

I also have quite a few recording of now long passed extended family members and friends. Believe me these are a much better long term record that photographs.Through these recordings they all live on.

Cracking Up

It was built to last but eventually the metal casing cracked and the top section where the operation buttons sat disintegrated completely (this section was actually metal effect plastic) and the lid to the battery compartment also cracked to the extent that it could then only be powered from the mains (hardly portable).Despite these failings the cassette play/record mechanism itself could have easily kept working. The Aiwa must easily have put in 10 years of faithful service.

I eventually replaced it with a Toshiba which was cheap, plastic, sounded awful in comparison and soon broke.

So fond memories of what for a generation today would seem an absurdly antiquated technology but they were the mp3 players of their day and part of the evolution of portable audio devices.

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Throwing The Book At Vinyl

vinylcoverThe recycling of older technology continues with these journals featuring covers made from old LP vinyl records (nothing rare I hope). We’ve already seen compact cassettes remodelled around money purses and belt buckles so this is just another reincarnation for the old ‘liquorice pizzas’. Personally I’d loved to see the same thing with covers made from shiny old silver laser discs. Bit too niche maybe?

UrbanOutfitters via Holycool.net

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Cassette Tape Hub

I’m old enough for cassettes to have been a significant part of my formative years so this cassette tape USB 2 hub is very much my kind of useful retro gadget.Would have been a bit more authentic if they’d got the rights to have a brand name on the cassette but I’m probably being pedantic.

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iwantoneofthose via unplggd.com

2007 Cassette Jockey World Championships

In the week that one of the UK’s main electrical retailers again pulled yet another stalwart of our past gadget lives, the compact cassette we’ve learned that premium quality blank cassette tapes can sell for premium prices on eBay whilst the Beeb reminded us of the top 10 reuse possibilities of cassettes and I now read about an upcoming contest for retro “cassette jockeys” over in San Francisco (“If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure sure to wear some cassette tape in your hair“)

The 2007 Cassette Jockey World Championships are to be held on the 19th May and are open to:

Cassette Jockies • Retro-Tech Lovers • Magnetic Media Monsters • Circuit Benders • Multi-Media DJs • Walkman Hot-Rodders

Cassette Jockey ChampionshipsCircuit benders welcome eh.

The tougher than tough rules are:

The Rules

  1. One (1) Cassette Jockey at a time–no teams.
  2. Competitors are ENCOURAGED to create or alter their own cassette tape decks/players/recorders/etc. to compete on. However, some stock cassette equipment will be provided at the competition.
  3. Standard cassette tapes ONLY–no mini-cassettes or 8-Track tapes.
  4. Cassettes used MUST be published, pre-recorded, “store-bought” cassettes for source material–no dubbing of CDs/LPs/8-Tracks/MP3s to tape, home recordings, battle cassettes, or found sounds are allowed.
  5. Spliced tapes/tape loops are allowed. (But remember Rule #4.)
  6. Live microphone usage and live feedback are allowed.
  7. Headphones are allowed (supplied by competitor).
  8. Competitors may use no more than six (6) cassette devices.

No use of self recorded tape???No fading!!! Impossible.

So if you are a world class CJ (!) then this is, apparently the place to show off your retro skills.

Ladies and Gentlemen-load your decks…

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2007 Cassette Jockey World Championships « Stuffem-Up the hill backwards

Goodbye my analogue friends


I’m having another go at archiving some older analogue recording that I still keep.Being a Cancerian means that i’m one of life’s hoarders but having said that it’s been good to unearth some things and share them with the world whether on old VHS or cassette tape.Today it’s so much easier with PVR’s ,DVD recorders and online radio with listen again and podcasting but back in the day it was a tough job recording radio if you couldn’t listen to it at the time.I remember having to use fragile C120 tapes to catch radio shows and a Heath Robinson kitchen timer arrangement to get my trusty cassette tape to start recording at pre-set time while I was working, only to return home and find little more than mangled or broken tape spewed around the cassette mechanism. When HiFi video recorders came in it was easier as we could use those to record audio only from an external source easily for as much as 8 hours at a time (hurray for LP HiFi).

Indeed I rarely overplayed my old vinyl records, just transferred to HiFi Video to save wear and tear so I’m used to archiving. Many of those HiFi videos still play so I’ve archived them again to my Mac (quick external how-to and here too) and will no doubt be doing the same when the current audio bette noir is replaced.
I’m hopeful of tracking down a working Betamax video player to re-archive a clutch of beta tapes that still lay in draws at my parents. I’ve managed to put the old gems from old VHS tapes up on YouTube but it’ll be a pain if the plug gets pulled on that outlet one day. So it’s back to archiving those treasured old cassette recordings. Amazingly most play like they were recorded yesterday so I say thanks and farewell to my old analogue cassette friends. You’ve lasted longer than most things in a throwaway world.