7000 cassettes

November 1, 2006

cassettes.jpgToday Tom threw away 7000 cassettes of music. These were cassettes of music put ON RESERVE for UCLA undergraduate music majors required to listen to them for their music history classes or music theory classes. I was called in because there was an entire box of cassettes from classes I taught in the 1980s. There was no information as to what was on the tapes, just course titles: Music 176 / Prof Bourland.

The font on the cassette labels was from that embarassing cool font phase Apple went through in the mid 80s, printed on a dot matrix printer. I thought, don’t starving children in Biafra want this music? And the answer was, no one wants this music. Well, I’m sure we could have put in on craigslist and had someone haul them away. But Tom told me, we can actually put these cassettes in a recycling bin. There was something karmically comforting about that thought.

Tom asked, do you want them? I thought, hell no. I already have a closet wall full of old cassettes, 1/3rd of which I’ve already digitized and the rest will get put off to a rainy day.

All the hours of making the tapes. All the hours the students spent listening to those tapes and learning. All of of that tape. All of that music. All of those cassettes in boxes. “Recycled.” Gone. Gone. Gone from the physical world, but with any luck, living on in the memory of students.

p.s.: today I met with a publisher about my Rufus book. I loved that I was able to put a PDF version of it in-progress on her flash drive. Ah the brave new world. I love it!

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