Columnist: Rewind & return to C30,C60 and C90 ...

Casette tapes are coming back into fashion...
Casette tapes are coming back into fashion...

I have to admit that I didn’t think I’d ever see the day that cassette tapes would make a come back.

Vinyl may be cool again - fair enough, I get that piece of nostalgia and it’s been that way for a while - but I’m not sure that the cassette is in the same vain.

However, I hear in recent months musicians have been releasing their new music on this old medium, which I honestly believed was extinct; as dead as a dodo.

There can’t be all that many people out there who still have a tape recorder that would let them play such a thing.

Don’t get me wrong, having grown up through the late 1980s and 90s, I enjoyed my experiences with cassettes.

I had a vast collection, which included everything from story tapes that accompanied children’s books to the musical sounds of Pato Banton, PJ and Duncan (please don’t judge, I was young) and Take That.

There were of course a couple of chunky ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ cassette boxes in there too.

But thinking about the days of the cassette tape, really takes me back to two things.

As a kid our ZX Spectrum computer relied on a cassette to store the games and as I’m sure all those who have experienced this in the past will remember it meant a lot of sitting around waiting while the cassette player screeched at you as it took an age to load the game.

It’s a noise that once you’ve heard you’ll never forget. Now we’re in the days of X-boxes, Playstations and online gaming even as cassettes make a comeback it’s definitely a comeback for music lovers rather than gamers.

However, one of my more enjoyable memories of the cassette is music related.

It was the good old days of sitting listening to the Top 40 chart on Radio One on a Sunday afternoon waiting with my fingers on the record and play buttons for my favourite songs to be played.

There was something extremely satisfying about getting the timing just right so that you missed the last words of the DJ before the track played, but didn’t miss out on the start of the song. If you were unlucky and didn’t get it just right it was annoying.

The other thing I found frustrating at the time was while listening to the chart, usually around the time a song I had been waiting for was likely to come on, I’d hear the call from downstairs that my tea was ready.

It left a dilemma – do you hit record and just have to put up with songs you didn’t want and the DJ’s comments, or do you run downstairs, eat your meal as quickly as possible and dash back up in the hope that you haven’t missed the crucial song.

And if you missed it you’d have to wait until the next week to go through the whole scenario again in a bid to try and tape that one song.

As fond as those memories may be, given the advances in technology these days and the likes of CDs and MP3s, I’m not sure I’d be rushing out to buy a cassette now.

Not only do I lack the tape recorder to play it on, but I’d rather hit a skip button than try and rewind or fast forward to the spot on the tape that I want.