Kate's post reminded me of the existence of one of the most beautiful Radiohead songs, a song I only have on tape. This song was the second-to-last track on side A of a mixtape this guy my high-school best friend had a crush on made for her. I think it was followed by the Clash reading a poem over some music.
It's called "A Reminder" and you can stream it here. What a great high school mixtape song:
"If I get old, remind me of this
the night when we kissed,
and I really meant it.
Whatever happens, if we're still speaking
pick up the phone
play me this song"
It's from the Airbag EP, which came out after OK Computer, one of my favorite albums. God, that was a great mix tape, and I wish I could listen to it right now. (It is in another state.) Why are people nostalgic about old formats like tapes? I think it's because with tapes you had a ritual--especially when making a mix. It's like kneading dough to make pizza, or smashing cardamom pods with the back of a knife. You don't have to do these things but they are incredibly pleasurable. A comforting, hands-on thing that puts you squarely in the moment. I dated this guy who was a coffee fanatic, and said he hated decaf. But when he had to quit caffeine he started making decaf every morning--because of the ritual. Grinding the fresh beans, putting a pot of water to boil, nestling the Melitta filter in the cone, slowly pouring in the water with a slight swirl of the wrist. Cooking up a mixtape used to mean lots of hands-on rewinding. You had to sit there while the song played out, there was no instant drag and drop. It was a hands-on, loving process.
We want to post mp3s here on the blog but so far have failed to figure out this 21st century ritual. We don't have a place to host them, I guess. When we get that figured out I will digitally reconstruct that mixtape. If you have tapes you are nostalgic about, that you regret not being able to share with friends or even listen to, check out Cassette from My Ex.