Couch Cat – ancient music is spirit medicine

Jackie Wilson Asheeke

I have been cleaning out cupboards and store rooms with a vengeance lately. I had completely forgotten about an old suitcase full of the ancient music cassettes that used to be critically important to my music listening joy about 25-30 years ago. I also found a huge box full of CDs. And I found a small zip bag with two old MP3 players. It is amazing that these tapes, CDs and old time digital devices used to be the center of my entertainment life in their time. But now, they are spider web magnets as digital music platforms available from online services at a low monthly rate, provide any song I could ever want to hear.

I recall the hassle of travelling with a separate bag that had my Walkman and headsets and as many of my favourite tapes as possible. I remember when a tape would get sliced for some reason (many times overused cassette players malfunctioned and ‘ate’ tapes) and all the music was lost. I remember if anything wet or sticky got into the cassettes all was lost. Back in the day, we used to use a pen to stick in the holes to spin it around in the cassette to advance or rewind the tape or ‘fix it’ if the tape thread came out.

[Younger readers have no idea what the paragraph above is all about. I love modernization!]

When I uncovered the bag with the cassettes, I took time to go through it. I laughed loudly at the history of my travels during the late 1980’s and 1990’s was revealed. There were ‘playlist’ tapes (though the term was not used back then) for every trip I took. I see tapes for my travel to conferences that I had completely forgotten about. I see tapes people made for me as gifts. I see tapes for ‘background music’ for dinner parties. I see tapes for exercising or taking walks. I see tapes for when I was driving in heavy rush hour traffic. I put new batteries in my old Walkman to see if it still worked. It did! I listened to a few tapes and enjoyed a nostalgic blast from my past.

The box of CDs held the same memories. I realized that I ‘burned’ many CDs for travel as well. Travelling with the actual artists’ CDs for all my favourite music meant lugging zippered cases with maybe 20 or 30 slots and risking theft or leaving them behind somewhere or allowing them to get scratched somehow.

I tried to use my old CD Walkman with less success. As many will recall, if there is a single scratch on a disk – game over, no music. I found some old disk cleaning cream and wiped several of my old composite playlist disks. And still, most that I tried to sample, would not play due to scratches that I couldn’t see or maybe dust in the grooves.

The MP3 players blasted that old music perfectly. No problem. I might just use them again sometime soon.

As I loaded up the old tapes and CDs to prepare to give them away or throw them out, I noted that I have all of the same music via Deezer, ITunes or Spotify. I can go online, call up a song I’d like to hear and there it is. I can play the music on my phone or my tablet whenever I want.

These days, I have the Bluetooth earbuds to use with my smart phone and tablet. But, I also travel with the old fashioned over the ears headsets that plug in. On longer trips the power runs out and Bluetooth dies. So, the old school wired method is a great Plan B.

Dig out those told cassettes, CDs and MP3 devices hiding in the back of your closet! It is amazing to see what you were doing back in the day and take a musical trip down memory lane. In these stressful days, hearing old school music that you can sing, dance and remember better times, is medicine for the spirit.

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