Tuesday, 13 September 2016


I recently had occasion to buy myself a Walkman. Charlie had found a tape she wanted to listen to in one of her several memory boxes. Neither we nor anybody we know owns a cassette player, but I found a knock-off Walkman on Ebay that came with a lead for converting cassettes to MP3 format. It arrived today and I was eager to test it out. There is something reassuringly clunky about cassette players, I love that the eject button is purely mechanical.

I connected the machine to my plugged-in laptop and left it to charge while I went off to bake some almond and dried mango flapjacks. The next thing on the agenda was to find a cassette to test it on. Fortunately, I still own two cassettes: one is Supergrass's debut single Mansize Rooster (which I bought for 99p in 1995 and is currently changing hands for £8.99 on Ebay); the other is my pal Stoogie's interview with Norfolk Constabulary from 2010.  

"Wait a minute now you just can't hide away..."
Tentatively, I inserted the hallowed Supergrass cassette, closed the lid and pressed play. Nothing happened. As I removed the cassette to check that the tape was intact, I saw a hitherto unnoticed compartment labelled with a picture of a battery. Turns out the lead is just for transferring data. To run the machine requires two AA batteries.

I was pretty certain that I had seen two batteries in my man drawer. Sure enough, beneath the Basildon Bond writing paper, nestled between my watercolour paints and my sewing kit, there lay two AA batteries.

The cassette player works, but I have to say that cassettes are a shocking mechanism for storing music. The sound quality was appalling on the 22 year old Supergrass tape. I've got vinyl records that are 70 years old and sound like they were recorded yesterday.

Bonus internet points for anyone who can tell me why I called this post K7.

In case you didn't believe me about the Flapjacks.


  1. In Paris, sometime in the 80s, I remember being baffled when walking into Fnac (a handsome chain of French record stores) and finding a whole section marked 'K7.' I thought it was merely some Gallic affectation, until I tried saying it out loud in French...

  2. Thank you for this Fin. I've just discovered a box of tapes and was considering buying a box to play them... I shan't bother... if vinyl has it for the analogue sound then I'll stick there... however, is there not some charm in the rubbish 'KerSette'? ;-) xx