Music has always been a place of refuge for me. A passion of mine when I was younger was to make “mix tapes”, cassette tapes filled with songs that I would give to my friends. I always considered them windows into my world and nothing excited me more than years later learning that some band on one of those mix tapes became a favorite of that recipient.
I started numbering them in June 1985, when I lived at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station just north of Chicago. I had graduated high school in January 1985 and joined the US Navy. With money and time, the mix tapes started to flow. That first mix tape contained an odd combination of Rush, Duran Duran, The Fixx and Wham!
Over 150 mix tapes were made by me between 1985 and 1995. For a brief time, mix CDs took over from 1996 through 2004. After that, silence for nearly 16 years. I had a child to raise, a job to work, there wasn’t time or a very good medium for sharing these mixes anymore, and quite frankly, my small collection of friends had other things in their lives beside 1980’s new wave mix collections.
I make these Youtube mixes for me. I play them in my shop when I’m working, I play them on long car rides, I play them before bed. I share them via social media and occasionally a friend tells me a certain song reminded them of the old days, a compliment worth more than any money.
I’ve been preparing my creative space for the work ahead of me, what I refer to my Capstone projects. These mixes are the soundtrack.
Merry Christmas. My father sat in my house for the last time one Christmas ago. So much has happened in the past year, but his loss, and the loss of my father in law, looms over everything.