Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The time capsule in my drawers

I can still remember my mum and I down at the local furniture shop - one of those places that looks like it specializes in stock rescued from the backs of trucks - and picking out a small, unassuming student desk in a dark, mahogany-finish MDF.

It was my first ever desk, and I conscientiously did my schoolwork at it for the next few years – right up until I completed my undergraduate degree, actually.

When I bought and moved into this house, the desk came with me, in the guise of a stand for the television set. Later, I used it to support the stereo that I was looking after for a friend while he was overseas (somewhere along the way I lost the surround-sound speakers, but not on purpose).

And now it is my sewing desk. The sewing machine has in fact been sitting there for the last 5 or 6 years, but now I actually sit at it to sew stuff.

I hadn’t cleaned the desk drawers in years, so going through the contents of the drawers brought back a few memories: the Margaret Sparrow book on contraception, which was most valuable at a certain time in my life; the belt bags that I bought for my overseas trips and never used (because who wants to look like they eat twice as much pizza as they really do?); the grey fabric dye I bought to fix my favourite jeans following a laundry catastrophe (but they'd shrunk too, so I didn't have to fix the colour stain); the sewing patterns for clothes I never finished (there’s a lesson there); and the drawful of music cassette tapes.

There’s a lot you can tell about me from my collection of music cassette tapes, if you don’t have a million other things you’d rather do.

Spanning the 80's and 90's, it includes AOR, NZ indie, and stuff I can’t even remember listening to. Amongst the slightly uncool Hall and Oates, Beach Boys and Jimmy Barnes, there’re the mystifiying selections of Desmond Dekker, Ofra Haza (didn’t she have a dance hit in the 90’s?) and Linda Ronstadt singing in Spanish. Some I bought as souvenirs of my travels: Ram Narayan, I got while waiting for a bus in India; Aguas Claras, bought in Peru; The Peking Brothers after I saw them busking in London.

Some, I wish I’d got on CD, so I could play them now: Prince and the Revolution (x 2); Bill Withers; U2; Hunters and Collectors (x2); The Psychedelic Furs; Straitjacket Fits; Nina Simone; Hot Chocolate.

I’m faintly embarrassed to have: Nigel Kennedy’s Four Seasons (a present); Apache Indian; Jimmy Barnes (x2); and Kid Creole and the Coconuts. The Tom Jones tape belongs in this category, but then it was an in-joke referring to the time I got the Welshman confused with Sean Connery (and after I’d been living in Edinburgh for almost a year!).

I’m loathe to dispose of the little buggers, but we don’t have a cassette player – I don’t know whether anyone does any more. Perhaps I could just keep the cover inserts, for old times' sake, and ditch the tapes at the dump.


Nigel Patel said...

I love Psychedelic Furs!
Still haven't figured out what I'm doing with my own unearthed cassette collection.

Anonymous said...

what's wrong with Nigel Kennedy? Ray and I went to see him when he came here last year and he was sensational. Although he didn't play Viv. which was vaguely disappointing (but not really).

My ex sold my stereo to a secondhand dealer and left my Four Seasons cassette in the tape deck so I had to upgrade onto CD.

my cassette collection is WAY more embarrassing. NKOTB and Bros. And some group called 'Indecent Obsession' that I dubbed off my friend Annabel. Oh and RICHARD MARX Repeat Offender.

Angela said...

I am sure you could find a tape player at a store or on the internet. The two CD players we have have a tape player too.
But sound quality and not having to rewind make just buying the CD worth it.

I hope you enjoyed your walk on memory lane.

Violet said...

nigel: it would be nice to sell them, but with my luck with online auctions I'd probably end up giving them away anyway.

donnasoowho: nothing, except he's just seriously uncool. Maybe because he put on a Cockney accent and wasn't a Cockney.

angela: I'd rather just get rid of them than buy another toy that I'd have to find room for!

The Editter said...

We still play tapes in the car.

We've got Prince, Bill Withers and Hot Chocolate on CD...

Violet said...

the editter: want some free cassette tapes?

Make Tea Not War said...

I watched the video of Kid Creole's "Annie, I'm not your Daddy" on youtube awhile back. It was disturbing!

Violet said...

mtnw: but fun - admit it!