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all Staalzine Articles
Filed under: Art
Tags: berlin, staalzine episode2, november 2013

Lost and Found

This cassette is the oldest ‘found cassette’ I still have in an archive of some 400 recordings.

This cassette was found in early 1987 in Liverpool, a city at that point rife with industrial decay and unemployment, race riots, a chronic housing shortage and growing drug problem. This tape came from an‘unofficial’ car boot sale, one of several held on bombsites around the perimiter of the city. People (many of whom where real characters and who ended up recognizing me on my weekly visits) sold anything and everything out the backs of cars or on blankets on the ground, for pence.

Those markets ceased to exist more than two decades ago, and urban regeneration and even gentrification has since taken hold. The city has become a more stable and less interesting place, in the same way the exciting if unpredictable cassette format has been overtaken by sleek digital formats.

The sight of this cassette takes me on a mental time-journey to a whole other place, and its content was similarly unexpected. A pre-recorded release by Welsh prog rockers Man with tell-tale sellotape over the cassette spine, and containing a hissy, taped phone call between two lovers, one with a local accent and a germanic-sounding girl in Brazil. Conversing in English yet neither seeming to understand the other. It’s the sort of found recording I like, raising unanswered (and probably unanswerable) questions: what was the ‘important information’ he mentioned? What were the backgrounds of those involved in that call, and what happened subsequently? Where are they now? Over to you. - Ben Roberts

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I'm in a city that is not my own, need to find tapes for a project and somehow can't find any. Flea markets only have more recent obsolescences,cellphones chargers and digital cameras, or antiques, not much of the disconforting junk in between.
Then I find this box of cheap generic blank tapes, each wrapped in clear plastic like pretzels or tissues. must come from that short period between mass commodity and total irrelevance. I buy it and avoid questions as to why. - Anne-F Jacques

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