Mixtape Memories – Walkman on the Bus

This question was posted to Twitter the other day and boy did it take my back! My walkman didn’t look like this but I did have one that I borrowed from my parents. For a lot of middle school and high school – the years I took the school bus at whatever ungodly hour they made us catch it – I would set in the back of the bus with my head down, eyes closed, focusing on whatever cassette was in this machine.

It was rarely an official album.

There was the mid-90s, when Star Wars was slowly coming back to the forefront of popular culture and Lucasfilm released the 80s radio dramas on cassette. I listened to those so much that whole parts of dialogue are now committed to memory. There are times I forget what was the radio drama versus the movies. And everything in the radio drama was canon to me…probably why the scene in A New Hope, with Jabba inserted back in, still makes me twitchy to this day LOL.

My Dad had our stereo hooked up to the television but he also went the extra mile and had our cassette player also hooked up in a way that television audio could easily be recorded. Being the giant, hyper-fixating nerd I was, I immediately transferred over the audio from my current obsession – The X Files. I transferred the audio over from the Pilot episode and E.B.E. – two of the “best” episodes for me at that time.

And by “transferred” I mean I watched the episode again with the cassette recording it all in real time. In today’s world of drag and drop, I always boggle at the amount of time it took to create these things back in the day.

Later on, I had a copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy BBC miniseries. The radio play was out of print, but I transferred the audio over from the show after it aired on PBS and listened to the 90s minutes I could fit onto the tape.

Probably the most music I listened to on the walkman bus rides was the recording of the NPR radio show whose name escapes me now…mostly because the cassette I had my Mom had edited out commercials and in-between song chatter to just be The Beatles music and their Christmas recordings – it was a special airing where they would do a selection of Beatles songs from each year and then play the Christmas message they mailed to fans. As you can probably guess, I started to develop a little Liverpudlian accent after many hours with just the Fab Four’s voices in my head.

What was in your walkman? Or discman? Or, I guess the next progression in “listening to random stuff no one else has heard of” will be what podcast did you stumble on that you’re one of ten listeners of? Share in the comments or link me to your post!


  1. I’m the tiniest bit too young for a Walkman (I had a cassette player, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t at the headphones-needing age yet) but on my unbranded Discman I constantly played the Evanescence album Fallen, the Delta Goodrem album Innocent Eyes and a varied collection of So Fresh! CDs (an Australian hits compilation album series). I also had a minidisc player at one point! Can’t recall what songs I had on minidisc, but I know Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love was on there.

    Liked by 1 person

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