Conducting yet another sort out of my storage cupboards – I know I’ve done it twice since March – but I have to be more ruthless. Not enough goes out. In truth it goes back, but in a different order and place. One item which evokes memories is my relatively new cassette recorder. Many music rehearsals involved the recording on one; the first being a ‘Phillips’ in the 1970s, folllowed by a ‘Sony’ some twenty years later. Bulky and heavy to cart around but they served their purpose. When I last joined choirs I observed small dictaphone type gadgets being used then many years later on phones too. Meanwhile my 2nd issue recorder sat at my feet involving a lot of bending down to switch on and off. It eventually gave in as I started rehearsing for a production at Leeds’ Civic Hall on the Suffragette Movement. I toyed with the idea of a handheld tiny gadget – and ended up with a replacement ‘Sony’. You see I still have several cassette tapes dating back to the 1970s so there is something quite vintage and sentimental about their existence.
There’s the play “When We Are Married” by LIDOS at the Civic Theatre, concert party rehearsals and a recording of highlights of a Leeds Civic Arts Guild show in the early 80s. The recorded productions were made so by setting the machine on the floor of the stage wings, which made for some interesting whispered conversations too. Similarly recordings of a particular TV show would have my Mum interrupting to talk and me saying “shush” followed by Mum’s – “oh sorry!”. At least these are the portable cassette recorders unlike the huge reel to reel tape recorders. My first one at the age of twelve was a second hand ‘Grundig’ on which I would record Alan Freeman’s Top 20 at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. Who remembers trying to press ‘stop’ before presenters started talking again? A twin-track was my limit but would have found a 4-track one jolly useful. The downside to tape recorders though was the awful moment when the tape twisted, or worse and had to be coaxed back in with a biro pen; oh yes we’ve all been there!
When I listened to Cliff Richard’s radio programme each Sunday night I would part-record from our huge, solid Bakelite radio. The station was ‘Radio Luxembourg’ which required much twiddling and tweaking to control the whistling and wobbly sounds. Then there were the incessant adverts for ‘Horace Batchelor’, the Football Pools man with his spelling of the address – K-E-Y-N-S-H-A-M, Bristol. I remember our first transister radio (of a sort) or rather it was my brother in law’s radio which we would take on a picnic, lifting the lid (it was half the size of a record player!) to play music outdoors, a novelty. If I borrowed it, I would take out in the street and carry around with the lid slightly open – an early transistor! All the technology is so much more lightweight and tinier these days and I often wonder how it will change again in years to come. That said, I love the nostalgia of yesteryear so I think it’s time to discover what other gems are amongst those tapes….
Thank you Maureen once again, until next time…
Picture sourced from Google -RalphsRadio’s