Saturday, October 27, 2007

Butterfly Wings


At this precise moment, I'm listening to the insufferable Kris Kristofferson doing his piteous warbling on an bondfide 8-track tape. If you must know, it's his classic(?) 1978 offering called Easter Island. It's torture, even for someone like me who owns the original version of Video Killed the Radio Star (Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club, not The Buggles' ripoff version).

How'd I get here - and why do I stay?

Rewind to a couple of months ago (something one cannot do with an 8-track!). My father-in-law, Clarence, sends one of his infamous Monday morning emails. In between the usual weather report from the Sudbury area and his rundown of local news, he asks if it's possible to copy 8-tracks to CD. Like the great guy *cough*idiot*cough* that I am, I say, "Sure! We can probably do it. I can show you how next time you visit. Just bring some tapes and a player and we'll figure it out.".

Clarence has the world's largest collection of 8-tracks. The Guinness people don't know it, but it's the truth. He does. His tastes run decidedly towards old-school cowboy music, but he throws in a Carlton Showband or Burl Ives here and there. He also has a modest collection of 8-track players that he picks up a garage sales and flea markets. His primal fear - his vast collection perishes (the tapes tend to break easily) or he runs out of players. Hence, his email.

Long story short, he brings me a player and 24 tapes. While Clarence is long gone back to the wilds of Northern Ontario, I sit here copying 8-tracks to CDs for him. I could have shown him how, but it's fussy, tedious work and I wanted a chance to come up with an easy system. Next time I see him, I'll pass the torch and he can beaver away at the remainder of his collection.

For now, I'm on tape number 8, with 16 to go. Got me some Stompin' Tom and Wilf Carter to look forward to - if I can just get through Kris. I'm sure he's a nice enough guy, but lord he sounds painful. I've learned my lesson well.