Monty Python’s “Spam” and My Brief Love Affair with Memorex 120 Cassette Tapes

From the age of 10 I have been writing and keeping journals. In sixth grade the gifted English class I was in also had us keep a journal. They gave us these really small notebooks which were inadequate for my vociferous outpourings and I filled many more notebooks than my peers.

One of my projects has been to digitize these and that entails re-reading them.

Wow. At once embarrassing and enlightening, these writings reflect my interests and worries at that time, but they also reveal how little I have changed in a lot of ways.

For instance, Monty Python’s Spam: I was OBSESSED with that skit!

Now I am not –Monty Python and any other frenetic humor exhausts and irritates me.

I was also obsessed with electronics and tape recorder/players especially.

That has not changed, although computers and their peripherals have taken the place of monophonics. (digital is basically mono but that is beyond the scope of this discussion).

My parents acquiesced to my repeated pleas for both a cassette recorder and a headphone radio (looked like hearing protectors and served much the same purpose of blocking external sounds), remember, this was before earbuds or even the Sony Walkman, of which I was an early adopter.


Mine was red and white. My father got it for me when I was alone with him at Penny’s near Radio Shack. For some reason, my mother was very upset at him, but I wore that headphone radio OUT listening to rock music and “Mystery Theater” ( ) Once I drifted off during “The Masque of the Red Death” and had a nightmare. Good times.

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I also had a cassette recorder/player:

70s cassetteplayer.jpg

Somehow I discovered I could wrap a tiny piece of Scotch tape around the headphone jack (not the radio headphones, regular ‘phones) it would simulate a pseudo stereo effect-instead of coming through on one side-mono-you can hear the sound on both sides).

This is how I occupied myself-reading, watching Dragnet, listening and re-engineering things. Let’s just forget the electrical outlet shock, also during “Mystery Theater”, which left me with such a headache I had to sleep and miss that episode.

Let’s just forget the electrical outlet episode whiuch shocked me with a headache so severe I had to go to sleep and miss Mystery Theater…

And what were my parents doing during all of this? Probably sitting in the living room listening to the grandfather clock tick, perhaps watching TV-I don’t know, I had their old set in my room and they left me alone as long as I was quiet in there, which I was; it has always been when I leave my room I run into problems. I can and do go for days, at times weeks, without a foray out, or even using the telephone, which I basically loathe as it interrupts. Agog at how many people are hypnotically glued to their cell phones:




So, back to “Spam”.

I had recorded “Spam” onto a 120 length cassette tape, ignorant of the fact these are thinner and more fragile than shorter lengths.

Inevitably, with my repeated –and I do mean REPEATED rewindings and replaying, it broke.

Here is how I described it in my journal:

Well, it’s 12:30 AM and I am exhausted suddenly. I guess I will turn my electric blanket down to ‘4’, set my tape to “Spam”, turn out the light, climb into bed and lie there thinking or not thinking until Stage One claims me and my Alpha waves begin to surface. Goodnight.

January First:

Well, day after tomorrow is another session with the psychologist. Wonder how boring this one will be.

My Memorex tape with “Spam” broke!!


There goes Monty Python and me talking backwards [when the thin tape stretches and twists it can effect backwards playback].

I’ll return it and get a new one. But I can’t replace what’s on it.”

I may have been consoled had I predicted the Internet and:




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