Midnight Madness and Portable Memories

It was friggin’ hot last night. I knew I probably wouldn’t sleep because of either the heat or the noise from the fan required because of the heat, so I iPodded it up. For about an hour I laid in bed with my “New Stuff” smart playlist on shuffle. During a Rogue Traders song I thought, “you can tell she’s Australian, she sounds like an Australian singer”. Which then made me think “I should listen to some Kylie Minogue that I haven’t listened to in yonkers”.

So the game is set. I’m up at 11:30pm looking for either the actual CD or the four-year-old MP3 disc that it’s also on. Six boxes, one drawer in a rubbermaid storage thing, six spindles, several stacks of “lay-about” CDs, and one rummage through the shelve under the coffee table along with popping any old MP3 discs I found into the iMac and I was CD-less. I did however find a few things such as:

  • Dr. Mario for Gameboy
  • OS X Public Beta CD
  • my first pair of glasses
  • Windows 98 Plus! CD (for distrubution with a new PC onry)
  • all sorts of Chris Sheppard dance compilation CDs from the early 90s
  • Mac System 7 on floppy discs
  • pay stubs from Advantage along with other paper trail type things

The first two were definitely the best. I also found what I thought was a Kylie greatest hits type disc that I knew had some of the songs from the album I was looking for. No joy! Empty case. I gave up. I plunked down and watched Nosferatu online instead. Several minutes into the show, I noted there was a spindle on my desk right next to my iMac that I didn’t check. Success! We have MP3 disc! Copied the album onto my iPod and went back to the wind tunnel that was my room. I’m not even sure why I was looking for that particular album, s’not that good really. I think sometime well after 1am I may have fell asleep.

But not before I had another thought/memory go through my head. I used to live with a walkman on. Quite literally. I couldn’t walk down the street without it on. Any short car trips, it must be with. I was fussy about it too. I put tapes in the tape door ever so gently so they wouldn’t get scratched. I tried not to listen to one part of a tape to much or rewind or fast forward too many times as to wear the tape out faster. But strangely, any new tapes I bought were immediately fast forwarded and rewound as to break them in. I never had my mixed tapes cataloged though, that was left to my Beta tapes.

I remember most of my walkmans as well. At first, when I was 10-11 years old when I first got hooked, it was a string of “value” personal cassette players. You know the ones with fast forward but no rewind. Yeah, those. Then one day at the flea market, my grandfather bought my a Sony Sports Walkman™. An actual real walkman, that could tell the time! OMG! That one lasted for quite some time before it gave up the ghost.

I think it was right after that one that I got my first Sanyo walkman (although it is possible that I had a Koss one before it that I didn’t care for… it was either before or after my first Sanyo). Man, that thing was awesome. It had BASSXpander on the walkman and the headphones. Volume control on the headphone cord. The triumph was the 3-band equalizer built into the front of the tape door. /Swoon. Auto-reverse and auto-stop rounded out the features, as was the style.

One day, it took a tumble off my bike and it was never quite the same. Ghastly scratches and the door was pretty busted up but thankfully it still worked. When it did die, it was replaced with another very similar model that arrived in the form of a Christmas present. It must have just been the updated model as it looked just a tiny bit different and had Dolby noise reduction. And sub-par headphones. I was keeping the headphones from old walkman, no matter how many pieces of black shrink wrap and solder jobs was holding it together at this point.

The headphones would go on to serve me with my first discman… a Sanyo natually. I was sad to leave my EQ behind while venturing into the bold world of portable CD enjoyment. I survived with 3 settings of BASSXPandingness. I had one more Sanyo discman after that which became my in-car CD player untill it died and was replaced with upgraded car audio and a Diamond Rio PMP300.

And there’s my tale. I would have included some links to photos of the Sanyo gear, but I just couldn’t find any, so there.

Author: andrea

A Londoner from eastern Canada. City of London Guide, fixer of Macs, collector of old video games, appreciative of synths.

2 thoughts on “Midnight Madness and Portable Memories”

  1. I can’t seem to find any pics of my first walkman – I thought it was a Sony, but I can’t find any pictures of it. It was yellow, it said Sports and it had these weird nubs on it which I suppose made it sportier. Or something. It was a good little friend, and I remember taping Gameboy music at home with the Yamaha stereo and then listening to it on the Walkman. Oh yeah.

    When I moved to Gananoque the first time after my Grandfather’s death, and sort of dropped under the radar, I bought an extremely cheap one with a 3-band EQ at the Salvation Army – maybe a Unitech, but I don’t remember. I do remember recording the dirtiest jungle and drum n’ bass I could find – mainly NYC’s Hive, and listening to that constantly. I didn’t want to talk to anyone in Gananoque, and I certainly didn’t want them to talk to me, so it was a great way to stay closed to the rest of the world. I do the same thing with my iPod(s) now, but in a much less hostile way – something about the grittiness of analogue tape, and the fact that the headphones weren’t playing stereo unless I held the connector cable in a certain way, just made it feel a lot more intense. Weirdness.

  2. Ah yes, Andrea and her walkman… a site I will never forget 🙂

    And the Rio action. Boy, remember how we had to run out and get me one too. and how no one at Staples would wait on me at the time, and how I lashed out kindly at the sales boy about how i had like $400 to spend and he wasn’t getting it. Yup. $400 for 11 songs baby…

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