The Mix Tape

Throughout history mankind has repeated the same silly drama over and over again. History does not repeat itself, unless it’s republished; but passion and ignorance plays itself out again and again, generation after generation. It is a failure of culture. Billions of people, both male and female, wallowing in their own emotional ignorance, and getting no help.

The relationship between a man and a woman is dynamic, and cannot be otherwise, but the hope is to establish a static state of happiness; to freezeframe life, or, at very least, hold back the hands of time. It simply can’t be done.

Among the literary cognoscenti, romance is defined as unfulfilled (sexual) passion; or unrequited love. And romance segues into courtship, which forces the issue. Much of courtship involves the giving of gifts or love tokens. These tokens might be flowers, chocolates, jewelry and so on; but with the advent of recorded music and the ability to easily rerecord on cassette tapes, the mixtape or compilation tape became a familiar love token, or, at least, an expression of the otherwise inexpressible. But, even then, as Paul McCartney and the Beatles put it [I] “Can’t Buy Me Love”.

While serving in Việt Nam my brother sent me a compilation tape of both music he recorded directly off broadcast radio and some vinyl LP albums along with audio messages from my relatives.

As a birthday present, I once made a compilation cassette tape of songs pertaining to my niece’s sixteenth birthday in celebration of that Golden Age – heavy on the Neil Sedaka.

But the mixtape early on, was a love token and a particular use of the medium. If one cannot write poetry – recite poetry. If one cannot play music – send music. The mixtape does both. In the mixtape of courtship as a love token, content is everything. The lyrics and music are chosen with exquisite care in order to, again, express the otherwise inexpressible.

At the age of twelve (or fourteen), I concluded that there wasn’t nearly enough love in the world, and if there was ever going to be, it was I who would have to provide it. Now the world swarms with young men and women engaged in an endless Snipe Hunt; seeking after something, they know not what. Love is not sex, and Sex is not Love; yet they persist; seeking after some vague, static ideal; that perfect someone who will fulfill all their equally vague and dynamic dreams.

As an anachronistic answer song, even though they’re reversed and out of chronological order, Bob Dylan said it best.

I Need a Hero (Holding Out for a Hero) 1984
by Bonnie Tyler

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the streetwise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn
And I dream of what I need

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero till the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero till the morning light
He’s gotta be sure, and it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
Larger than life

Somewhere after midnight
In my wildest fantasy
Somewhere just beyond my reach
There’s someone reaching back for me
Racing on the thunder and rising with the heat
It’s gonna take a Superman to sweep me off my feet

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero till the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero till the morning light
He’s gotta be sure, and it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero till the end of the night

Up where the mountains meet the heavens above
Out where the lightning splits the sea
I could swear there is someone somewhere watching me

Through the wind and the chill and the rain
And the storm and the flood
I can feel his approach like a fire in my blood

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero till the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero till the morning light
He’s gotta be sure, and it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero till the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero till the morning light
He’s gotta be sure, and it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero till the end of the night
………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………

It Ain’t Me Babe (1964)
by Bob Dylan

Go away from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need

You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’s never weak, but always strong
To protect you and defend you
Whether you are right or wrong

Someone to open each and every door
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Go lightly from the ledge, babe
Go lightly on the ground
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’ll only let you down

You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’ll promise never to part
Someone to close his eyes for you
Someone to close his heart

Someone who will die for you and more
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Go melt back in the night
Everything inside is made of stone
There’s nothing in here moving
And anyway, I’m not alone

You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’ll pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
And to come each time you call

A lover for your life and nothing more
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Note to Feminists:

How can you expect a man to be your Knight in Shining Armor after you stole his horse?

About The Twentieth Man

Age 69
This entry was posted in Expository Writing, For Feminists, Love, Music. Bookmark the permalink.

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