could i possibly take a tape which is just ever so slightly south of being forty years old and make it into a compact disc? this is the question, look you see, posed to me by my Uncle. no, not that one or that one, the other one, Trevor. i said yes, of course i can. and then i went off to set about working out how exactly to do such a thing.
of course i did it; if this was a failure then i somehow doubt i would be celebrating it all with a blog post for your entertainment. although actually it's a blog post more aimed at those who randomly search the internet for things they like, for i suspect that the contents of the tape might be of interest to some.
a look at it all done to start with? certainly.
what is it exactly? it is an interview on Radio Tees with highly regarded and fondly recalled singer Mary Hopkin. the interview, it says on the tape, took place on 1 March 1976.
and yes, that is indeed a most splendid orange coloured BASF blank tape it was recorded on to off of the radio on the date mentioned above.
a little snippet of how it came out? sure, although as usual i don't know how the quality will come across on this video clip. as i shall go into detail about just now, i am rather impressed with how the sound quality came through. nice one Trevor, although it would go without saying that a music lover will preserve and protect music recordings in their collection.
the first concern i had about doing this was of if the tape was going to be OK. in this era where we are assured that the digital form, no matter how disposable, is superior, there's always a concern about trying to play an aged tape or vinyl. the trick is, though, back in the 60s through to the 90s, music really mattered, and so quality items were used to record and store it on.
as for the mechanics of transferring tape to a CD, it is a bit of work but nothing too much more complex than the way one had to record a tape off of the radio, or the way one had to connect two video machines in order to make a copy of a smart film you had rented.
basically, i took my most smart Sony walkman, put new batteries in it, connected it to Dad's old red XP netbook via a headphone jack to headphone jack wire, used an appropriate audio recorder bit of software to "capture" the tape as it played, then recorded the files to CD. simples, if you know what you are doing i guess.
there are a lot of people, i appreciate, that do not know how to do this. that is why, sadly, there are people out there who make an awful lot of money from offering this service (video tape to DVD, record or tape to CD) to people who want it done. i wouldn't think it fair to charge much for it, maybe the time it takes and that's it. and no, absolutely not, no way am i charging my Uncle!
will i be showing off more of my class bomber hat on this blog? yes, but not in this post, i will do a full one on it in due course. for now, however, another snippet of my conversion job for you.
any problems with the taping? nothing major. a sad part of this is that it's not the entire interview, just the first 30 minutes or so. it ends with a promise to return after the news, but that's where the tape runs out. still, the 30 or so minutes are interesting.
interesting and a bit uncomfortable, really. whilst i have always said that one needs to understand values in society were very different in the seventies, that doesn't mean they were right, pleasant or easy to listen to. the host doing the interview, for instance, refers to Mary Hopkin in terms of how lovely and beautiful she is as a lady, rather than acknowledge the fact that she is an exceptionally talented singer. also, underlining the sexism, the bloke doing it spends more time asking Mary Hopkin what Paul McCartney is like. little research was done beforehand, as the interviewer "forgets" that Mary was married to Tony Visconti at the time, and had "forgotten" that Tony Visconti had produced huge, successful albums for artists such as Bowie and T-Rex.
also, the bloke doing the interview sounds very much like Alan Partridge.
otherwise, on the tape itself there are some true gems. i can confirm for you, for instance, that advertisements for the proprietors of carpet outlets designed for provincial radio sound exactly like they do now as they did in 1976. there's also a good quality recording of Gary Glitter live in concert, although of course he is not an artist quite so fondly remembered these days. further, there is a news bit presented by Bob Holness out of Blockbusters from a time when he was a journalist rather than being him off of Blockbusters, discussing how a hedgehog was being used to promote litter awareness.
whilst it would be inappropriate for me to make this whole recording available in a public way, such as on that whole "you tube" thing, i do appreciate that there are many Mary Hopkin fans who may well be interested in hearing this. should that sound like you, please leave a message and we will make some sort of arrangement, i cannot think Uncle Trevor would be distressed about other fans hearing it.
let me go and drop this off for Trevor, then. and yes i shall be wearing my most smart bomber hat as i do so.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!