1982….Out Of The Blue!

It was a cassette, it was a compilation, it was shared with my sister…does it even count as my first album???

Ah, 1982. It was the year I started high school. Just as significantly, it was also the year I bought my first album.

Yes, sad to say, I must have been 12 or 13 before I first bought an album. There were two main reasons for this. The first was because my only income was pocket money of 20c a week (laugh if you like, because even for that time it was a pittance, but my parents had 6 kids and one blue collar wage, so we had to accept our 20c a week because that was all we were going to get!). To put prices in perspective, I think the album cost $8.00. Actually, my first admission about “my first album” is that it was a shared purchase: my little sister and I saved up and pooled our money to buy it. (Even so, it must have taken the two of us at least about 3 months to save up for the album!)

The second reason why I’d never purchased an album up until this point, is, as regular readers (hi Mum!)* will know, that not only did I have no money, but I wasn’t actually allowed to listen to “rock” music. For this reason, my sister and I planned this transaction as carefully, surreptitiously, and with as much nervous anticipation as if we had been planning to score heroin.

My second admission about “my first album” is that it was not an album, but a cassette. The reason for this choice of format was mainly the covert nature of the whole operation. Not being allowed to listen to “rock” music, we had to plan to be able to listen to our album in secrecy. It would have been difficult trying to use the family record player without being caught. As part of this elaborate plan, I had already taken the step of purchasing a second hand cassette player for five dollars from a sympathetic (and entrepreneurial) friend. This was hidden deep inside my wardrobe, waiting for us to arrive home with our blackmarket cassette tape hidden somewhere on our persons. And of course, a cassette tape is easier to hide in a pocket, and less likely to be damaged when hidden in the depths of a wardrobe, than an album would be. So the cassette tape lent itself to being the format of choice for those of us who had to conduct undercover operations to listen to music in secret.

Thus armed and prepared, with our meagre savings in our purse, and with a thrill of excitement at our daring, and the significance of our purchase, my sister and I caught the bus into Ballarat and headed into Target where we spent our $8 on……1982….Out Of The Blue

Yes, my third and final confession is that “my first album” was a compilation album.

I always admire people who, when asked what the first album they purchased was, reveal how sophisticated they were at the age of 8 when they sauntered into some independent record store staffed by adults with Mohawks and nose rings, and laid down their money to purchase something by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, The Pretenders, Split Enz etc.

We were in a small town, musically, financially, and culturally deprived, with parents who disapproved of most television and all contemporary music, and no records sold anywhere in town. (Surprisingly, not even at the local hardware shop, which sold an eclectic range of things ranging from lawnmowers to a packet of 24 colored textas I once coveted for my birthday at a much younger, and obviously deprived, age.) Due to our deprived musical upbringing, I hadn’t been exposed to enough music to have developed a liking for any particular band. 1982….Out of the Blue was the obvious, and perfect choice for 2 young girls eager to dive headlong into the world of rock music that we knew we were missing out on. Given all those hindrances to us even hearing any good music, a compilation of the year’s biggest hits seems like a good place to start our musical journey.

God, we loved that album! Favourite songs were I Love Rock’N’Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Radio by the Members, and Six Months in a Leaky Boat, by Spit Enz, though of course, I Ran by Flock of Seagulls, Only You by Yazoo, and Hungry Like the Wolf, by Duran Duran had us dancing and screaming the lyrics out just as loudly. I wonder just how many times that old cassette went through the tape player. I still have the cassette, and am holding it now, looking over the song list. I can recall that thrill that “owning” those songs represented. It was more than just the music, it was that with this little cassette tape and my second hand cassette player we finally had access to something that our friends had access to, something that was for our generation and that our parents disapproved of, and we could take part in it.

I rarely ever listen to it  – or any cassettes – now. (I do still have one cassette player!) The tape goes funny and the music goes off key in the middle of “Do You Believe In Love” by Huey Lewis and the News – probably because, as I didn’t actually like that song much I must have sometimes impatiently hit the fast forward button on that track. The pitfalls of cassettes were plentiful, but I put up with them for along time anyway  right up until I bought my first CD, but that is another story.

I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll – oh boy, did I!

*

* Mum doesn’t actually read this blog, in fact she doesn’t know what a blog is, doesn’t own a computer and wouldn’t know how to use one if she did. So I guess she still doesn’t know about that tape recorder hidden in the wardrobe.

*For another memory of the good old cassette – see here.

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5 Comments

  1. Andrew

     /  March 10, 2011

    Checking the songlist definitely Split Enz for me

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  2. Aaron

     /  August 7, 2011

    I enjoyed reading your post, I was in the process of converting my copy to MP3 when I decided to do a Google search for the cassette and found your blog post on it. My first “Album” was 1986 Out Now I received it on my 16th Birthday along with a Boombox to play it – happy memories.

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    • Thanks Aaron! I’m glad you enjoyed the post – I enjoyed writing it! I never had 1986 Out Now! 😦 Fancy getting that AND a boombox – some birthday eh?

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  3. Paul

     /  February 5, 2021

    Real late-comer to your blog. I love it and I’m totally jealous of your talent, since I’m totally crap at creative writing (D in HSC English – oops, clue to in what prehistoric era I was educated…), and totally time-deprived (and totally overusing the word totally – I blame my kids. ) Scrawling this on my “mobile device ” while waiting to board. “1982 Out of the Blue” was one of my first purchases, also on cassette, as they were always 50c to a dollar cheaper than a record – $7.99 and $8.99 at Brash’s! I also yearned for a multicoloured pack of xylolene (or similar highly aromatic, probably quite toxic compound) filled textas…. I hope you write more soon, seems like you’ve stopped for a while now – writing a book or screenplay? Hope you’re OK, Cheers,

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    Reply
  4. Hi Paul, late-comers are always welcome! In fact punctuality is my only flaw, so I sympathise with anyone else who has the same time-based challenges. (Being on time is for people who don’t have interesting lives.) It’s also nice to hear from someone else who went through school in the prehistoric era. (I was in the very first year that we changed in Victoria from HSC to VCE. Wow, what a difference it made!)

    On a serious note, thanks – it’s generous of you to read my post & comment, especially as the blog is clearly not current. I wanted to try my hand at other kinds of writing & see if anyone beside myself, would publish it, & had to stop writing the blog in order to have time to do that. I’ve had small successes with publication but unfortunately no screenplays in development at this stage! Possibly a book may emerge one day. Who knows, maybe another post on the blog will materialise one day, too! Glad you enjoyed reading it.

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