Sunday, March 16, 2008

Heart-Shaped Box

The last bona fide mix tape I made -- with cassette tape -- was around the year 2000. They were fun, those mix tapes, and the tradition lives on thanks to romantics like Beth (, but they were mostly a manifestation of time and place, nicely written about in Rob Sheffield's memoir, Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time (2007). The role of mix tapes in the lives of many a lucky American born between, say, the late 1950s and early 1970s, was -- or is -- real, often vital. Mostly, music brings emotion, and connection, a reaching in and a reaching out. Sheffield's story also underscores mortality -- Renée Crist, his first wife, died in her twenties, on May 11, 1997, from a pulmonary embolism. Through chapters organized around mix tapes made back in the day, as in "Those were the days, my friend . . .," this memoir delves into the intricacies of marriage and relationships in general. As one might suspect, it's sweet and sad -- and evocative.

This summer, I'll be digging through some of my own past, maybe list some of my own mix tapes from the 80s and 90s.

Today, I found notes on daily expenses from Chapel Hill undergraduate days. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Here's an excerpt:

$0.30 UNC stickers

$1.19 Stationary + $3.50 Good stationary/UNC bookstore
$12.50 Full tank, unleaded gas, Mobil
$0.40 Dr. Pepper/UNC
$0.25 Pack of Nabs/UNC

$2.35 Breakfast & tip, Pine Room
$0.70 Dr. Pepper & Pack of Nabs
$4.23 12-pack of Stroh's Beer
$2.15 6-pack of Schlitz Beer

Those were the days, my friends . . . I'm glad to be alive and living in Detroit in 2008, and don't you know it!

Here's a brief clip with Malcolm McDowell from Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man! (1973), a cult favorite:

Today's Rune: Joy.


lulu said...

Mixtapes always remind me of High Fidelity. (both book and movie)

The best mixtapes ever made for me were made by my friend Sharon, aka Tenacious S.

Beth said...

Sheffield's memoir is one of my very favorite books in years. It has become the gift I give.

Can you believe those prices? I remember lasting a week on five bucks of gas ...

Charles Gramlich said...

Now you're just torturing us with those beer prices and gas prices.

Lana Gramlich said...

Malcolm McDowell rocks. Did you ever read the trivia regarding "A Clockwork Orange" on He almost died making that movie!
Although they weren't mix tapes, the last ones I recorded were in 2004, before I moved down here (since I wasn't going to be able to bring all of my vinyl with me.)
Sorry I've been absent lately, but the mundania monster has had me fully in its grasp. Hopefully that will let up soon!