C30, C60, C90, Go!


Technology has come a long way since I was a child in the 70’s.

Today there are numerous devices to capture our special moments but in my day it was basically a camera, a Polaroid Instant camera (dodgy, Father…VERY dodgy!) and cassette tapes.

Cassettes were great because I could bung my favourite songs on a few tapes and sit in the garden – portable tape player turned up to the max thus inciting the wrath of the neighbours – and my mother, who removed my batteries on many an occasion.

She also confiscated the player a few times as well.

My family made tapes for one another as another way of keeping in touch and Mum gave me a load of these old tapes when my dad died. I guess some memories were simply too painful for her..

It’s been almost 18 years since I listened to them.

But they’ve re-surfaced, including a few that I didn’t get around to playing..

Seeing Nan’s handwriting on the tape was enough to start me blubbing.

I started with the B side because it was addressed to me and my brother. ( Nan spelt his name wrong)

I wasn’t sure what to expect so I rammed the cassette into the player – sat down in my easy chair and braced myself.


Five minutes later – still silence.

I fast forwarded a bit – still nothing.

Basically the entire side had nothing on it!

I turned over..

Deck The Halls boomed out from the speakers but it was playing at 45rpm instead of 33rpm. (Google it, kids)

The next few songs were the same. I’m guessing it was Jim Reeves Christmas Hits but it sounded more like Pinky and Perky.

Nan must have realised her gaff and changed the speed mid-song.

Unfortunately the next record she put on was a single but she still had the record player set to 33rpm.

Again, she must have sussed it because it suddenly changed speed half way through.

By this point I was laughing so hard a bit of wee came out…

My pelvic floor couldn’t cope.

Oh my God, Nan!!

Not only that but she’d totally ignored the pause button because I could hear the change of the records and on one occasion, the needle slipped off. Perhaps Grandad ( who was a bit shaky) was in charge of putting the needle on the record?

Nan was a technophobe but I’m hazarding a guess she’d also been at the brandy.

But my laughter faded away as I heard the familiar sound of her voice.

It was a surreal moment.

I closed my eyes and she could have been in the room with me..

“Bye bye, cheerio for now – God Bless.” she said.

I could visualise her tiny frame, silky soft skin and salt and peppery hairdo – styled like the Queen’s.

She was well posh, my nan.

Then she said “See you all on Wednesday” and Grandad (deaf aid a-whistling) piped up “God willing!!”

She started to say something about making a cup of tea but the tape ran out mid sentence.

Before I played the tape – I knew I was going to cry but I had no idea it would mostly be with laughter.


Nan & Grandad

The Sing-a-Long

On this tape – one side was labelled Sing-a-Long and I’d heard it before so I played the other side first.

There was no writing on this side so I just shoved it in the player (jammed it twice) and curled back up on my chair.

Imagine my surprise when The Stripper started to play!


As in STRIPTEASE music!!!

I squirmed about uneasily for a few minutes waiting for it to finish but then it started again!

In fact…the ENTIRE side was full of it!!!!

I was like…WTF????

Suddenly the Polaroid camera made a LOT of sense.

God only knows what my mother was doing for that 30 minutes. The mind boggles.

It’s still boggling…

I dread to think what my parents were up to while I was slumbering away dreaming of sheep. And stuff.

I’m going to need lots of therapy – my childhood is ruined.

I downed a pint to ease the trauma and played the other side.

Basically it’s half an hour of me (aged about 8) Mum and Dad singing along to Max Bygraves. Why this is on the same tape as striptease music – I’ll never know.

Dad could croon with the best of em and he’d always sing when he’d had a few. He was a happy drinker. The more he drank – the happier he got and he sang like Frank Sinatra. Only Dad’s eyes were brown. Ol’ brown eyes.

Hearing my young self made me smile and cringe simultaneously.

I had a really annoying habit of saying “OH YEAH” or “Olé” at the end of each song. *cringe* *cringe*

Mum’s singing would intermittently break off and she could be heard rollocking someone in the background – most likely one of my brothers.

The last voice on the tape is my dad’s.

“Sock it to em baby!” he says Elvis stylee and then he laughs.

In this day and age it’s so easy to capture these moments – all it takes is a mobile phone. Little did I know in 1978 what this recording would mean to me 36 years later when both of them are gone. Gone but never forgotten and a part of them lives on within the spools of an old C60 cassette tape.

“The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with — nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they can add up to the story of a life.”~ Love is a Mix Tape – Rob Sheffield.

 Unravelled Cassette Image -Andrew Malone












17 thoughts on “C30, C60, C90, Go!

  1. How fan-flipping -tastic to find that! I’m laughing at the the thought of your face when imagining what they were doing to The Stripper! Ahh, cassette tapes…I was so “Wired For Sound” Those were the days.

  2. OMG, from the start I knew this blog would make me cry……what a very special thing to have. Can’t re-read it, to emotional, but are they still on old tapes????? If so can you get them put on a disc??? In my top bedroom drawer (NO FILTHY MINDS) is a couple of pieces of handwriting from my Dad taken from a Filofax …..just the sight of them came make me cry. Got a homemade video of our wedding somewhere but it’s on a old DVD tape”…must find it and get some techno person to put it on a disc. To hear their real voices……..would be lovely but might put me over the edge!!!!!
    On a happier note, I can remember sitting in my bedroom tapering the TOP 20, switching it on & off when the DJ spoke but you always got a bit of chatter or advert either end…….kids today don’t know how easy it is with music!!!!!
    Thank you Tracy for sharing a very personal blog with us……now go wash your PISSY PANTS!!!!
    Liove you to the moon and back
    Twitter Ma xxxxxxxxxxx

    • LOL
      Thanks Sheerie 😀
      I suppose I would be able to get them put onto disc – there’s not much you can’t do these days and that would protect them because we all know what can go wrong with cassette tapes!! But some of the experience was handling the tapes themselves…knowing that my parents had touched them and personlised them – a bit like books.
      RE the pants…I was covered – got me Tena in. 😉
      Love you TTMAB

  3. Awww brilliant Sis. What an amazing thing to have 🙂 I’d love a tape of my Granny and Grandad. I nearly wet myself at the thought of your face when the striptease music was playing hee hee. You have to play it to your brothers so they can feel your pain and you can laugh at their faces haha xx

  4. Brilliant post Tracy! My goodness that’s a trip down memory lane with the old cassettes. I can still remember spooling them back into their cases if some of the tape came out and twisted, so there’d be a jump in the music like the needle missing a grove on the vinyl. Worked in radio eons ago and would make a separate interview out of politicians’ umms and errs all spliced together. Feel i was there with you – it sounds like such a warm, happy home. There’s something so solid about tape unlike digital – can almost see your lovely parents and grandparents dancing, drinking brandy (and the rest) on the reel. Having said that, do get them copied onto CDs because they degrade in time and it would be so sad to lose them. I made a CD for my sister of a family celebration to welcome her son (my now 30 yr old nephew) into the world. Like you, there was my Grandma’s voice coming across loud and clear as though she was in the room. In fact she probably was because she hated being left out of anything that was happening. xx

    • Thanks for your lovely comment, Jo..
      Yes, it’s a good idea to get them copied onto a disc. They’ve survived this long but I don’t want to push my luck. Will get onto it. xXx

  5. That’s so poignant – I only have a recording of my Dad (on my ill-fated wedding video…), nothing of my Mum, or my grandparents. I would treasure them. Even better that they make you laugh too x

    • Thanks lovely..
      My wedding video is somewhere but I doubt I could watch it…I’ve lost too many people who were on it.
      Though maybe I’d be able to laugh at it too…who knows. x

  6. Wow this gave me goosebumps – I remember recording something onto a tape my parents compiled to send back to Blighty when we lived abroad, but I’ve never thought to ask if my grandparents made one to send back to us. I don’t think they did but I find myself hoping, as the thought of hearing my Gran’s voice again is frankly overwhelming.
    What an amazing treasure you have there. And I did laugh, The Stripper – ooh la la.

  7. Loved this post and the evocative memories it sets off for me (very much a child of the C60’s) . Even without my own tapes though, I can still hear my grandparents voices so clearly in my head. Such a shame none of them got to meet my Grace, who they would have adored without limit, as I’m sure yours did you.

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