My Youth on a Cassette

Blog Post No. 532

220px-mix_tape_sleeve_notesIn an attempt to avoid editing, I was cleaning up my desk the other day and came across an old cassette tape. It was marked “three” in my teenage chicken scratch and had no other information on it. I popped it into my player (which needs to have its belts changed since the speed consistency was all over the place) and on the tape were snippets recorded off the radio from the summer of 1997. I had to deduce the date based on the songs that were in the top charts for the day and the advertisement for the station’s summer music festival that was supposed to be happening in a matter of weeks.

Most of you could probably guess that the recordings were from 89X. In the mid 90s, that was the station to listen to. I distinctly remember feeling like if I missed the Top 9 at 9 I wouldn’t know what was going on at school the next day. Sadly, the station is gone, but to be honest, I hadn’t listened to it in years. I’ve written about my love of the radiounfinishedblackandwhitefly-size_restricted before. I think it was in high school where I fist started to feel that way.

Over the last couple of decades, I’ve mostly stuck with listening to the local college station, CJAM, and CBC if I’m in the car. Otherwise, I tend to listen to music I’ve purchased (and ripped into MP3s). It’s a bit sad, but the only interesting stuff is on those stations. (At least in this area).

Listening to that old cassette tape had a strange effect on me. For the rest of the night, I felt unteathered. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’m sure nostalgia plaid a part. Strangely, it feels to me like 90s nostalgia is a bit late. We got a huge wave of 80s memberberries that’s still hanging on, but other than some music that I grew up with being on the oldies station, there isn’t the same kind of obsession like there was in the 90s for the 60s and 70s.

A big part of that was the new millennium. The whole world started to look backwards after the future gazing of the 80s. Maybe that’s why we’re stuck on the 80s now. Like, we as a society feel like we need to look forward and staying obsessed with a time that was more forward focused is as close as we can get.7907429

A lot of nostalgia as a path forward seems to have come out of the 90s. So much pop culture was set in the past or was a remake of something from the adult’s of the era’s childhood. It seems to me that in the big “eras” before the 90s, there would be hints of the past, but they would be used as reference rather than reboot. Think Indiana Jones. The first movie was a play on the serials of Lucas’ childhood. Now, 40 years later, we still have a new Indiana Jones movie coming out.

I’ll probably see it, though I know I’ll regret it. I’ve thought about writing something specifically set in the 90s of my youth, but I’m much more interested in potential futures. I may get wistful sometimes, but I’d like to think I’m still focused on the future. Now, I just have to stop writing apocalyptic stories and focus on some solar punk or something. I’m way too likely to write downer endings.


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