It might have been an HF 90, though no – that came later. I remember the old C-90’s, something about the clean-cut 45° corners on their full-front sticker felt satisfying, even if they were Sonys. No, it couldn’t have been a Sony, I would have loved them, then, but I don’t love Sonys. I want to remember it as a gold XL-II 90, before Maxell entered their grey period in the mid-eighties. Memory’s a strange thing, though, so who’s to say?
His name was Roger and he dated a sister of mine, freshly divorced (the first to do so in our Catholic family) and seeking in her 30’s everything she’d missed in her 20’s. He wore leather pants and gel in his hair, a fair approximation of Phillip Oakey, and once asked of me as I listened to Led Zeppelin II, III, or most likely the fourth untitled one, “Why are you listening to this shit?” I think I must have been in love.
I hovered about in the periphery as they got dressed to go dancing on Saturday nights. We would call it New Wave now but I’m not sure we did then. Ultravox or Japan or Visage blared from our Sears stereo speakers as impromptu dances took place along halls, down staircases, and in the living room. He would often get me high while telling me of the next new band I had to hear. Soon everything smelled of perfume, smoke, booze, and sweat, until quickly they were off, gone to the early hours. Too young, I sat home in empty houses.
He taught me to hold a vinyl record with care, and how to make mix tapes: No lengthy gaps, even the levels, and never, ever run over.