My favourite invention from my childhood or something that at least stands out to me as a fond memory has to be the “blank tape”. I could be guaranteed a set of five tapes at Christmas or on a birthday and I was more than happy to oblige in making recordings for myself. It started off with the news, which I thought was hilarious. It started off with the old radio (which now resides in Sligo and has served many a builder and carpenter over the years), recording the news. I thought it was funny to hear it coming back to me, but it gradually moved on to recording songs off the radio – as everyone did.
I was the master of mix tapes and continued the tradition right up to college (before making mix MP3 playlists, CDs and minidiscs).
I took to a blank tape like a painter to a blank canvas. Every little second of room on the tape would be filled, thought having the end of your song cut off was a pain in the neck but it didn’t matter – flip the tape over and it was game on all over again. I’m sure I’ve still got a 1997 Radiohead recording from a 2FM Live set (possibly Glastonbury), some cheesy dance mixes from 1995, some worse dance mixes from 1992 (I was all of 9 years old) and it goes back further.
It set me on the road to ruin and a fascination with audio so I’ll happily claim the blank tape as one of my favourite inventions (or my favourite) from my childhood. All that BASF and TDK or Memorex chromey goodness.
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