More Tape

Dec 5, 2010

In 1968 the average weekly wage was £23. If this tape cost a staggering 10% of the average weekly wage what would it cost in today’s money ?? There’s no wonder I endlessly taped over things. You can see why even the BBC re-used tapes rather than archive everything.

What was on the tape ?, I hear no-one cry. Side one contained surprisingly crisp mono copies of ELPs Trilogy and Focus’ Moving Waves recorded by the incredibly technical technique of dangling a microphone in front of a record player’s speaker. Side two contained some of the world’s worst recordings from the radio of Radio Atlantis, Radio  Caroline and Radio Mi Amigo International(though perhaps in mitigation neither were broadcasting at very high power at the time). Having wasted the best part of an hour transferring 15 minutes worth to mp3 file before giving up I may as well add them to my audio scrapbook and post them here for anyone who likes listening to radio static. 

Radio Caroline 1974

Radio Caroline 1977

12 Responses to “More Tape”

  1. Dave Roberts Says:

    Phew! I must be mad to endure this kind of quality BUT I did have a few flashbacks whilst trying to listen through the AM noises and the rest! Did we really put up with this audio nightmare when trying to listen to our favourite pirate radio station? For what its worth these recordings sound quite unique so they have a value. Mark for “Hardened Anorak Consumption ONLY!” Thanks for spending your time getting these samples into mp3 format for nostalgia buffs like me. PS You must have been a bit posh to be able to afford reel to reel tapes …… tee hee.

  2. For some reason I used to listen to the early evening english hour of Radio Mi Amigo quite regularly (whilst the family were watching “Crossroads” soap opera no doubt). The reception would deteriorate as the evening progressed and evidentally all the earlier halfway decent bits were taped over during my odd ELP fixation.

    I was about to throw the tape away as unlistenable but then I found track 3 which contains an hour of interesting 1975 Caroline recordings where you can actually make out words and music !!

    My latest complication is that connecting the Tape Recorder to the laptop produces an awful humming noise which goes away if the laptop is used on battery power rather than mains.(evidentally some sort of earthing is required). Trouble is the battery only lasts 45 minutes between charges these days….

  3. Dave Roberts Says:

    If any one is interested to hear the English service of Radio Mi Amigo International as it was heard off the Dutch coast( loud and clear ) there are several available to download via this Mediafire link:

    It was all very jolly!

    PS ELP!!!!! I find it very difficult to listen to them to this very day. Its only now that I can actually bare to listen to 1970s prog rock. I saw Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson recently at the St Alban’s Arena and I thought they did some excellent versions of the old tunes so I must be working through this anti 1970s thing nicely.

  4. Thanks for the link to some proper recordings. Perhaps I listened to Radio Mi Amigo because they DIDN’T play the prog-rock-lite of Seagull/Caroline.

    Now my musical taste continues to move backwards as I rediscover the joys of Doowop and Ska.

  5. Says:

    Got me thinking (although a bit top of the head stuff, so let’s not get too analytical on the maths) –

    In 1969 the only publically available recorded medium was reel to reel. I think I paid about £2 for a BASF reel, and got 3 hours out of it at slowest speed (I guess multi-speed recording was the 60s version of bit-rates). That’s about 5 albums if the average lp was 36 minutes (and that’s generous going by many I own from that era). So with albums at about £1/2/6 a tape was worth about £6.25 in album terms – a return of 3.1/1.

    In the late 70s I was selling blank C90 cassettes for around £7 for 10, which is 20 albums. An album averaged £2.99 – a return of 8.5/1.

    I don’t recall cassette prices actually falling very much through the 1980s, I was still paying around £5 for 10 in 1989, but record prices had risen to £4.75 by then – so by 1989 the return is 19/1.

    Cassette prices didn’t change through the 1990s, but of course blank cds had replaced cassette by the end of the decade – £16 per 100. And cds were £7.99ish. That’s a return of 50/1.

    and now, a 1 terrabyte drive is £50, and holds more than 10,000 albums at decent mp3 bit rates or about 8000 superb quality flac files. At an average of £9 per cd. That’s a return of 1800/1 or 1440/1.

    Something tells me that
    1) the day not too far off that I’m sitting in the GPs surgery to have the whole world’s music output chipped into my arm is going to be a cheap operation. Although I’m having trouble with the concept of knowing I have Des O’Connor’s complete output and any James Last lp available at the flicker of a muscle, voluntary or otherwise (ooer missus) is more disturbing than I want
    2) the record companies should have seen this coming years ago
    3) being stranded behind a wall of snow has left me with far too much time on my hands. I’m going outside for a walk – I may be some time …


    today blank cds can easily be bought for £10 per 100, and a recorded cd now averages about £9.

    Just to complicate things even more, you can now buy 10 blank DVDs for £1.

  6. Says:

    apologies for the note scribbles at the end, kinda spoiled the punch line.

    Never mind, it gives me the space to mention that the Captain Oates reference reminds me of one of my favourite Lowry cartoons from the 1970s NME – Oates leaving the tent and trudging against the winds while someone says something like ‘I told him we didn’t need to return the video just yet, but he insisted’. Another sadly missed genius cartoonist.

  7. sidetrack…….I’d forgotten all about Lowry

    another sidetrack….who drew/draws(?) the “Lone Groover”

    It has taken your maths to explain what this blog has been slowly circling around for 3 years. We took/take music more seriously because to obtain it (first time round) took effort and money. Woe betide anyone creasing the corner of your recently purchased LP let alone scratching it. To obtain it had taken most of the day, two bus journeys and the giving-up of four squid..even sick squid for a double LP !! Many still sit on my shelves today that most likely accounted for three quarters of my disposable income for the week they were purchased.

    In 1979 I bought my first new car that contained a decent cassette player. For the next few years I spent £1000s on pre-recorded cassettes which then seemed to be the same price as LPs. When CDs first appeared I (begrudgingly) paid the high asking price. Music has sudenly over the last few years become valueless. Kids today don’t know they’re born (unless they are unlucky enough to have to pay their own monthly phone bill that is…)

    I’ve probably acquired more music in 2010 than any year of my life. Cost so far this year = £0. If new pre-recorded CDs were £1 each I would still be buying them today to save all that faffing around on the computer. No doubt new cars will soon have 1 terrabyte hard disks wedged in the dashboard if they don’t already that is……

  8. Says:

    The wondrous dude Lone Groover was also Lowry – his single panel cartoons were done as great washes, while the LG was simple line drawings.
    I’ve got just about all the LG cartoons, but sadly all cut-outs and in no order at all. So unlike the J Edward Oliver series, which were all nicely numbered, unless there’s acces to an NME archive there’s no way of putting them in order.

    I’m really disgusted that Lowry is just so ignored (have a few minutes online to find what you can – trust me, that’s all it will take). I’ve seriously considered using the National Library Archives, but don’t have time to spend there to sort it all out, as when I’m in London I’ve normally only got a couple of spare hours. His Hitler single panel cartoons were just so funny, and the blues series should quite simply be a book (like the rich blues man sitting on the porch of a mansion singing ‘woke up this afternoon’, which Martin Mull nicked a couple of years later.

    As for kids today – can I just add that of course some are born to parents who have already heard it – just watch them get really narked when we sing that ‘new song’ that someone has just recorded – ‘you CAN’T have heard that before’ (followed by lecture as to just how good 60s bands were from misty-eyed dad). Or when I play the original tune ripped off for a new rap/R+B tune (followed by a rant that it’s not R+B sonny – real R+B was something else, not blooody nursery rhymes for NY street thugs or Brit boys who haven’t a clue).

    Um … as for buying, well I hold my hands up here and say I download most things now. The purse doesn’t allow me to spend much each month any more so nobody’s losing anything, I’m NOT going to buy the third version of albums I’ve paid for twice already, and to be honest most what I download isn’t available anyway, even from those wonderful specialist labels that shame the existing majors who should take a lesson on how to reissue their back catalogue. I don’t buy a new commercial album if I can spend the money on an old album I havn’t got from an artist who got f all when they recorded. Pay Simon Cowell? or pay Captain Beefheart or It’s a Beautiful Day or Syd Barrett’s or Robert Calvert’s estate – no competition.

    Oh yeah – and I forgot to mention that a 1T drive saves about 20ft of storage space. What’s that in London property prices?

    Off to the -3 degrees garage to find the Lowry folder for my day off tomorrow (looks like that scrapbook blog is a must in the new year)

    Cheers, matey

  9. Says:


    It was of course Tony Benyon who did the Lone Groover, while Lowry did the single panel cartoons.

    I’m hanging my head in shame …

  10. Amen….

    PS: Although a 1T drive may save on storage space I would need a team of serfs and multiple scanners to take advantage.

    PPS: I wish when I had my new garage I had made it 2 storey. But even if I had I’m sure the space would have been grabbed by other members of the family.

  11. No need to apologise. Compared to myself you still seem to have total recall. I only “remember” stuff when I discover it in an old box…

  12. Says:

    Thanks, (and a pertinant ‘Erk alors’) but even using the excuse I was actually juggling discussing with a number of children ‘why hair extensions don’t suit you’, ‘in fact, after having a bad car acccident and the recent weather it’s not surprising your tutor didn’t have time to talk to you today’ and ‘I think you ought to consider in a mature manner dropping a subject in order to maximise your A levels’ while typing isn’t a good excuse.
    Especially when dealing with great artists and great cartoons that are sadly sinking into near-forgotten.

    It’s why I learned years ago to stay up late so I could concentrate.
    Still – we’ve managed the longest thread for a while, which can’t be bad


Comments are closed.