I distinctly remember this one time when I had one of those “uh huh” moments. Ya know?? When you suddenly feel like the rug’s been pulled out from under you. And the world no longer looks the same way as it did just moments ago.
All my adult life — from 17 to 50 — I enjoyed recording my music on my tape recorders. And I amassed boxes and boxes of cassette tapes. Then in 1995 I bought a Fostex 4-track cassette recorder. And for 10 years that was the best toy I had ever owned. I recorded hundreds of pretty interesting demo tapes, many of which were pretty damn cool in a low-fi kind of way.
And for many years I’d also lug my 4-track to People’s Park to record the annual Anniversary shows. And I’d make copies of the tapes for all my friends. And they were a pretty hot little number.
Then one day, I guess it must have been around 2007, and I wanted to record Country Joe McDonald who was performing at People’s Park that year. So I walked into the music store like I had done a thousand times before to buy a bunch of blank cassettes.. But for some reason there were no cassettes on sale at the stands where they usually were prominently displayed..
So I asked the salesman behind the counter: “What happened to all the blank cassettes?”
“Blank cassettes??” he said. “Of we don’t sell those things anymore.”
“No. Nowadays everyone listens to their music on their cellphones and computers.”
Well sir, I stood there dumbfounded. It never occurred to me that we would some day come to a world without cassette tapes. Even sadder was the realization: One of my favorite things in the world was now a thing of the past.
Fortunately the salesman was able to find a couple of leftover packages of blank cassette by rummaging around among the crap stashed behind the counter. And in fact I managed to make some excellent quality tape recordings of the Country Joe show. But wouldn’t you know it? When I dubbed copies to give to all my friends I ended up getting zero feedback. Everyone had thrown out their trusty old tape recorders. So nobody had anything to listen to them on.
It was that moment when I realized the world was passing me by. For most of my life I had felt I was on the cutting edge of things. But suddenly I no longer felt that way anymore. I was now a relic from a past era.
I also have in my storage locker — along with my boxes and boxes of cassette tapes — boxes and boxes of hand-written journals. All written in cursive. Which I always assumed would be my great legacy that I would pass on to future generations. Except I’m now told that cursive writing will soon be obsolete and archaic. And future generation will no longer even be able to read it because no one writes in cursive anymore, they all peck away on a computer keyboard.
Somebody just shoot me now.