The 4-Track

UB40

Red Red Wine by UB40

I don’t recall when I got first enamoured with compact cassette tapes. My recollection of what was the first song that I have ever listened to on tape is a vague as what I had for breakfast a week ago, while I was sitting inside an industrial-themed dining room of a hotel overlooking foul stretch of water called theManila Bay.

What I do know, though, is that I like them.

Audiophile purists thumb their noses at the cassette tape. While not all of them, lot of them think that this magnetic, stinky wannabe relative of the vinyl is impure in its form because it does not have that sonic “oomph!” that they find oh so sexy in vinyl. I, on the other hand, love stink. So, while I do have lots of vinyl, I have re-gravitated back to the compact cassette.

AC/DC.

That is what I have on now while writing this article, of which I do not have the foggiest clue how to end. What I do know, though, is that my love affair for cassette tapes ended in 2009 yet eight years after, I find myself restarting a love affair to a medium that has more biases than a man with a personality disorder.

It was right after the big flood of Ondoy. I had a nifty collection of 500 cassette tapes or so. Stress in the word “had”, because more than half of them got swept out from where I stored it, which was at my folk’s house – at their garage. Yeah, real smart. No amount of expletive that I utter here can described how pissed off I was after that happened

The other half was at my house. Useful? Well, no. Although the putrid flood waters did not reach my house, the film of most, if not, all of them got stuck looped to the reel like a leech is stuck to a blood bank. In short, they were useless. So, to the trash heap they went. Good-bye, sayonara, hasta la vista, don’t wanna see ya – or so I thought.

Back in 2016, I reached gold. No, I did not find treasure but I came of age. Little did I know that an invite from a friend to visit this new record shop, located at a street named after an island that has an underground river, would rekindle my love affair with tapes.

And so, it began. Again.

What started with one turned into one dozen, which now has reached several dozen that, if I wrap all those tapes around me, I can finally say that I have, indeed, achieved a magnetic personality.

Guardians of the Galaxy. Boy, what a movie. Well, sort of. The thing that got me hooked on that movie was the mix tape. The mix tape and I go some long ways back. See, I had courted an ex-girlfriend, who is my lovely wife, by recording mix tapes and giving it to her. Record from vinyls and tapes that I have at home, those tapes evoked the feeling and mood that I wanted to say to her. Given at carefully timed and arranged sequence, playing those twelve tapes or so in the order that I gave them told the story of how I felt – and here we are, twenty-four years later, the songs on those tapes echo happily through our married lives. Sadly, those mix tapes are gone. They are now part of whatever junk pile they went to because I forgot to take care of them. Shame on me.

Compared to the collection that I had back then, my stash now is quite modest. No specific genre. My modest 4-track stash contains songs from my youth, evoking memories of my dear departed parents, my sister and my wife. Well, of course, there is the occasional Frehley and Simmons thrown in but in general, those spools can reel me back time where life was simple, my waistline wasn’t the size of a beer keg and a time when I was still had a thick wad of hair.

As this AC/DC cassette tape reaches the end of the highway to hell, I say this: tapes and I are back together again.

Life could not be more perfect.

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