Reel big fish

The first music I ever owned was a C90 tape with Ray Parker Jnr’s Ghostbusters and Thriller by Micheal Jackson on—I was a little obsessed with ghosts and monsters at the time. My mom picked up an old Walkman from a jumble sale and I listened to them over and over, each time listening to the whole tape just in case there was something else on there. There never was.

Bristow is many things and exists for reasons other than the vanity of its editors. One of them is exploring a format that while will still survive but has probably seen its seen its glory days as important cultural artifact. One of the funny side effects that the internet has is that it brings together creative types who pick up the old tech that its replaces and allows them to look at it afresh wander ‘what can we use this for?’. Hopefully somebody will do this for the cassette tape: we’re having a bash.

The durable tape was a small robust object that played everywhere, as opposed to the flat delicate record. Where every record was valued, dusted and its notes poured over, a cassette was almost disposable function and ubiquitous but by being so endlessly customisable. If you really tired even of a pre-recorded tape you could always fill up the holes on top and press Play and Record.

The cassette tape took some of the power back from the record companies. It was the first pirate tech where you could share your favourite songs, make mix tapes and not only own the music but take ownership of it. The quality tended to be a bit hit and miss but, hey, it was coming out of two tiny speakers encased in bright orange cushions while you walked down a busy high street. Of course after this came the the compact disc, a once again delicate, flat, unlock-able platform – unless of course you transferred it to tape.

Now the humble tape we’ve attached to the front of our magazine isn’t exactly re-inventing the wheel. It’s more of a homage to the magazines we bought as a kid. But we hope by making some take out their old Walkmans, car stereos or the old clock radio we will spark someone to look again at a the humble tape, a format that shaped our musical tastes, got us through long car journeys with our siblings and sound-tracked our teenage lives.

There are 250 copies thats come with this plastic piece of ultra-short term nostalgia, which features four new and exclusive cover versions on the theme of Beast by Birmingham’s most willing musical acts.

You can go and buy Dirty Bristow Issue Two — Beast here.


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3 birds swooping

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  1. Russ L says:

    The tape has already long since come back into fashion (as one of these patronising quaint-retro things) for music purposes, in some circles.

    Consider the fella who laughed at me for ‘still’ using tapes aroundabout 2003/2004-ish . Come 2008-ish, when I’d finally just about come to the conclusion that cassette tapes were in fact a pain in the arse, he was releasing tape compilations on his label.

    There may or may not be a moral in all of this, but I don’t know what it is.

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