I had only recently discovered the power of music that I chose myself. Not my parents’ John Denver and Neil Diamond records furtively slipped on the turntable when they weren’t home, and not the disco-heavy pop music and classic rock that permeated every invisible wave that could be captured with the bent antennae of my radio. After I realized I could control what I heard and form my own tastes, I would sit in front of the radio on Sunday nights, cassette recorder in front of me and holding my breath so as not to pollute the background with excessive bodily noise, repeatedly pressing record and stop during the Top 40, trying to trim away the commercials and Dick Clark’s unnaturally upbeat and too-young voice from filling up even a precious millimeter of my 90 minute Memorex cassette tape. This was my weekly ritual. I would sit on my bed, recently swathed in a polyester comforter that my Mom let me pick out of the Sears catalog, with matching curtains. It was my foray into adulthood, picking out the brown and orange graphic sunset and mountain range to replace the nauseatingly frilly pink that my Mom had tried to force on me for years, hoping to pull me back from the brink of tomboyhood. Dick Clark’s picks only got 45 minutes on one side of the tape, for the other side was saved for Dr. Demento, who underwent the same laborious and largely inaccurate editing process. For the rest of the week, that mix-tape was the soundtrack to my life, to be covered up by new selections in about a month, once I had cycled through my other hand-me-down tapes from my brother’s job at the Radio Shack.
#mixtape # DickClark # 1970s #GenX #DrDemento