I have a less than impressive list of educational qualifications, I was average to just below average at sport, I can cook a bit, I can knock out a couple songs on the guitar, I am not great at DIY, I know nothing about cars or gardening, useless with money and have always had a job I don’t like or interested in, in fact there is nothing I would say I was good at except making Mix Tapes.
I am brilliant at making mix tapes, I am the best mixtape maker I know, nobody makes mix tapes as well as I do. I am probably the best mixtape maker in the world, maybe of all time.
The problem is, nobody cares.
Nobody cares about the hours of thought and effort that I have put into the hundreds of mix tapes I have made in my life.
I call them mix ‘tapes’ because that’s what they used to be done on; audio cassette tapes, using just a turntable, the pause/record button and impeccable timing.
I had one good friend back in the early eighties her name was Venetia Robertson Campbell which if she had been a professional footballer would have cost people a fortune in replica shirts. However, she wasn’t, but she is the only other person I have ever met who was as anal about mix tapes as I was, and still am.
Dear Tessa you have made me some awesome mix tapes as has my son Josh, but I consider that a result of passing on my mixtape making genes, so in a way it’s still all down to me.
I like to think that after I snuff it they will discover all my mixes on Mixcloud.com and hail me a genius. I would have died an artistic failure like Schubert or Van Gogh, they may even present me with a posthumous Oscar or Emmy or something like that for my contribution to the mixtape.
The inescapable truth is, people don’t care. They don’t care about the subtle themes I use, the insistence that the following track comes in on the right beat from the previous bar. It kind of carries on from my disco days, and so todays DJs are the nearest thing to what I do. However I add spoken word, comedy or a deliberate eclectic ‘left turn at the traffic lights’ in the middle of a mix, just to keep it interesting,
It’s so much easier to make interesting mix tapes these days with free software available, whereas when I made mix tapes back in the day, it was all about timing, making sure the record button was turned at exactly the right time on the record.
If anyone (and nobody has) asks me what is the best compilation album I have ever heard, then I will tell them it’s one that I made; which is where we get to the serious point to all of this. Music, like all art, is subjective. If you compile a mixtape or even just write a list of favourite songs, they will be YOUR choice based on YOUR preference.
So ignore what experts say, what critics say, what I say, if you like a song for whatever reason, then that is what matters, we are subconsciously, too hung up on what others think of as ‘greatest hits’ or ‘the best of’. OK, so these are normally compiled on the basis of popularity as defined on sales. Even so, just because a song sold a million, you may still hate it, or it doesn’t do it for you for any reason, and again, as I always moan about, compilations need not be genre specific. For me, the most enjoyable, colourful compilations are those that have no theme at all.
OK that’s all I have to say about mix tapes, so just to remind you, despite the plunging deep sea depths of my low self-esteem in just about every aspect of my life, my mix tapes really are shit hot.