If you’re a music nerd like me, then you’ll love a good compilation tape. I’ve been making compilations of music since I got my first double tape deck sometime in the mid-80s. I made them for myself at first; collections of songs taped off the chart countdown for posterity, though mostly now of course, lost. Then I made them for my own enjoyment, collections of great songs without the album tracks I didn’t like, to listen to on my walkman or occasionally my mum would allow them to be played in the car.

Then I made them for other people. For friends, to recommend stuff they might like, or as gifts to mark the end of an era. And then, of course for girls; with tracks chosen in part for their sappy lyrics, but partly for their obscurity, hoping that my (limited) knowledge of obscure 70s funk and Japanese Jazz would make me more sexually attractive. It never did.

Every compilation album I’ve ever made has been made with love. You can’t just throw the tracks together in any old order. They have to flow together, tell the story you’re trying to tell. But often, of course, they are of a very specific time, a specific moment in our lives. Since music tastes are refined and friendships change.

I also love receiving compilations and there is a special place in my music collection for treasured CD-Rs, some of which have elaborate artwork and sleeve-notes, given to me by some of my closest friends, and some not so close friends.

The music on each complication, both those I’ve made, and those received evoke thousands of memories, and not just when heard on those compilations. Each track become a key to a memory, of happy and sad times, of friendships made and lost and of girls that got away.

Viva la Compilation Tape….

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