As promised, today I am starting to release the full copies of the audio tapes I created as a child. The tapes will be chosen at random from the collection, and one side of a tape will be released at a time.
Today we are starting with the tape “The Variety Of Samuel” which I believe I created in 1999 or early 2000 at the age of 12. Sadly the sound quality isn’t great due to a combination of downright awful microphone inputs on the stereo used to record it, and fairly dodgy microphones. I’ve cleaned up the audio a bit by reducing tape hiss and a buzz which I believe was coming from the microphones, and fixing the levels a bit.
This was my last tape, although I did produce a CD after this. By the time I produced this tape, I was old enough to put a bit of planning in to it, so it is quite clearly broken in to segments and the back sleeve of the cassette holder has a bunch of segment titles, plus whiteout, and a crossed out segment which I didn’t have time for on the tape. The segments on Side A are:
Welcome (which starts with the greeting I had recorded on an old mini-cassette based answering machine [they were great, and had much better sound quality than most modern digital answering machines] and the hello song)
Salp (strictly speaking, the definition of my word “salp” is “radio music”, however it often also meant “radio music while I do other stuff in the not-quite-background”)
Story Of The Day
Celebration (in some ways a derivation of the latter definition of “salp”, but using CDs rather than the radio, and with me much more actively in the foreground. Celebrations were a common feature of my later tapes
The Intripid ‘Venturer: The Stripping Of The Bed (yeah, I know it’s spelt incorrectly…but that’s how I spelt it at the time. This was recorded in multiple uses of the two minute memo function of the answering machine, with me concocting some story to go along with a bizarre and messy attempt at stripping the sheets and blankets from my bed
End Noise (produced on the kitchen bench with metal egg holders)
That’s the first side of the tape…the other side will be available in two weeks. Enjoy!
You can also subscribe to the podcast of these tapes if you like, by copying the address http://samuelgordonstewart.com/category/samuels-tape-highlights/feed in to your preferred podcast receiving program.
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a few years would remember that, a few years ago, I started publishing highlights of the audio tapes I made when I was a child. Some of you may have been scarred for life by them, with one person commenting to me that they were “scary”.
These highlights were in many ways a side-effect of the process of putting these tapes on CD, and the posting of highlights stalled because the conversion to CD also stalled.
All of the tapes are sitting on a computer at my house in wave format, waiting to be edited (mostly some noise reduction and splitting the tapes in to tracks based on the various segments), and I would like to get it done, but I’m not overly keen on spending the extra time creating highlights which I can then publish here. As such, I have taken a decision to not bother publishing highlights, but instead publish the whole tapes. There are 28 tapes and one audio CD, and I intend on publishing the tapes and CD in random order, one side of a tape at a time, on alternating Sundays, with Aircheck Sunday on the other Sundays.
This should mean that the entire collection should be online over the course of 114 weeks.
Tomorrow will be Aircheck Sunday, so the first side of a tape will go online the following week. This will be available as a podcast, and I’ll give you the details of that when the first one is published.
In my school years, especially the last four, I had a habit of producing very polished assignments…in other words, I always paid careful attention to the presentation of them. One big reason for this was that, whilst presentation had its own marking category and was worth a few points, it also seemed to affect the teacher’s impression of the work, and therefore the rest of the marks. I also don’t like handing in messy work!
Anyway, on some assignments I would go right out of my way and do something special…something well and truly beyond the requirements of the assignment. Usually that did not pose a problem, but sometimes it required a bit of negotiating with the teacher. One such example was an assignment for my electronics class in year 10 (2003).
The assignment was to make a three to five minute speech about something electronic. Easy enough, just about everything is electronic these days it seems. At the time the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne was well and truly under way, and the topic I chose was the photo finish camera…the device used to decide the outcome of races, for both horses and humans.
I quickly realised that a lot of the topic would be much easier to explain with animations and video, and decided that I would make a video myself. It didn’t take long to convince the teacher that this was a good idea, on the condition that I appeared on camera, and my voice could be heard for most of the film.
Actually, it’s not the original video, but it’s as close as I can find. The original video, unfortunately, was not backed up prior to an urgent Windows reinstallation in 2004. I thought it was in one folder, but it wasn’t, and it is now gone forever. The “original” file above is the video from the Video CD I created for the assignment. I didn’t have a DVD burner at the time, so VCD was the best option. The VCD was subsequently copied to VHS tape as the school’s only DVD player was on a different floor and was already booked on that day.
A few interesting facts about the video.
The segments where I appear on screen were recorded in Campbell High School Library’s video viewing room during lunch time. It was recorded on three separate floppy disks using the school’s digital camera. One of my friends, Mirnes Huseinovic, was kind enough to donate some of his lunch time to be the cameraman.
The example of a photo finish being created was supposed to only run through twice at a much slower speed. It was doing so in the preview window, but Windows Movie Maker didn’t render it correctly!
I didn’t spot the “should have been blurred” bit of one of the Ancient Olympics photos until after creating the video.
The Ancient Olympics voting information was one of the few things I learnt in year three when the Atlanta Olympics were taking place.
SBS Sport were very very helpful. They remembered that a race had recently been run in the US with a very close finish and were able to point me to a website with video footage.
I got an “A” grade for this assignment.
As you may be able to tell, I’ve done a bit of work to refine the flash video encoder settings. I came to the conclusion that the flash video does not need to be the highest quality copy of the video in existence, as I have an original copy for that purpose. The embedded flash video needs to be small enough to play on most internet connections, but large enough to have acceptable picture quality. As such, videos with a 4:3 frame and 25 frames per second are being rendered at a frame size of 320:240 and a video bitrate of 336kbps (kilobits per second). The audio is being rendered in mono, at a sampling frequency of 22050 Hz and 48kbps.
The Flash Video format has further file compression associated with it, and as such the resulting videos have a combined bitrate of approximately 360kbps. Still too big for streaming on dial-up, but workable for most other connections.
Apparently these recordings, or highlights thereof, are scary, and if you found the other two scary then this one will be no different, nor will any of the future releases, so if you find them scary, then keep clear of this category.
Now that I have the disclaimer and warning mumbo jumbo out of the way, on with the recording. This particular recording is called “A Decade Of Samuel” as it was recorded as a special event as part of my tenth birthday. My birthday parties were always small and unconventional, my tenth was no different, in fact this recording took up a fair chunk of it.
The party was on the Saturday before my birthday (May 31, 1997), and that morning I started the recording by randomly starting recording at the start of a song on the radio and then recording the whole song. This was back when 2CC were half way between being a music station and a talk station. The first part of the highlights package has the tail end of the song (Moody Blue) and then the announcer, whose voice I recognise but can’t quite work out, announcing “1206 2CC” at which point that segment ends. By the way, if anybody can enlighten me as to the name of the announcer I would appreciate it.
It then cuts to a small section of the recording session which took place in my room as part of the party. My tenth birthday was the smallest one on record with one guest, which probably made the recordings easier. The segment contains me and my guest (Thomas) singing in Opera, I perform the high pitched sections whilst he performs the low pitched sections.
Obviously there were large parts of the party which were not recorded, but the end of the party consisted of our efforts in commentating the AFL match which was on the TV, this was somewhat amusing and continued even after he left (albeit with just me), dad came over a couple times as various boundary riders, and the highlights of the AFL coverage are included in this highlights package.
Those few things took up all of Side A of the tape, and my plan for Side B consisted of starting off by recording all of the Television news themes, and some others, I did this on that Saturday and Sunday, and I have chosen a couple for this highlights package. At that stage I absolutlely loved the David Young’s Garden theme, so I have an extract of that, if you listen carefully you will notice that the voiceover mentions the “Bruce Bond Investment Program”, I always found that name to be quite fitting for someone handing out financial advice. I also have an extract of one of the many bits of theme music Channel 7 used for the AFL…not only did they have the best AFL coverage (something that nobody has been able to match to this day) but they also had fantastic taste when it came to music.
The rest of Side B was recorded on the Monday of the following weekend (Queens Birthday Monday, June 9, 1997) and a very short segment at the end which was recorded the next weekend, on one of the two days.
As was the style of my recordings, this was all “The Samuel John Gordon-Stewart Program”, the highlights of which include an interview with one of my new toys, Dinosaur, a segment called “Teddy’s Major And Almost Major Issues” which was my take on the commercial television current affairs programs, the news (Including the news theme which was me singing “The News” in my opera), a horse race with two horses paying astronomical dividends and various other things. I had a bunch of callers who all tried to guess what the time was ten minutes ago from the time I announced the competition, as well as talking about such amazing topics as how much a chop weighs. The final segment was just me talking.
I haven’t included any callers on this occasion (there will be plenty of time for that on future releases) but I have included a section where I have to wake up my panel operator/receptionist (and don’t ask how he does both jobs at once…he just does) using a bicycle horn.
Tonight I am happy to be able to bring you the highlights package from the first known audio recording of myself (well, there was about ten minutes of recording before that, but it was broken accidentally just after recording, and I later reenacted the song on it on this tape).
This one is called 32 Musical People as there were 32 people in the “Old Folet” family, which was an invention of mine after hearing the name Rosemary Follett (she was chief minister at the time, so her name was fairly common in local media), this family consisted of me, and the 31 toys that were in this family. This number later grew to be in excess of 40, I think it nearly reached 50 at one stage. I remember one of my aunties visiting once and I gave her a tour of “my friends” as they were known (and still are…), she got to meet every single one of them by name.
Anyway, back to the tape, the highlights package contains the following items:
The Intro, whilst this is the second segment on the tape, it sounds like an intro, and introduces one of the main components of the tape, the radio, which was tuned at various stages to 1206AM 2CC & 1053AM 2CA, usually when I realised it was on 2CA I switched it back to 2CC. I always thought 2CC had the better music, not that there was much difference, but I do wish 2CA sounded like that today. This segment contains the tail end of a featured song from a previous musican of the week. Radio was often called “salp” (rhymes with salt) on my early tapes for some reason. (0:43)
The segment is a song titled “Bring Bring Is Funny. (0:11)
Then we have one of my favourite radio ads, a Magnet Mart ad which I later continued to attempt to sing. (0:54)
Next up we have a segment involving me playing with a police car toy I had (0:45)
Then we have me placing coins into a money box and pretending that the cents are dollars, I then made a song around it, and performed one of my regular tricks of “money boxes shaking”. You can also hear the phrase “Lets hear that” in the middle of this. This is because I was pretending that it all took place in front of a live audience, and I would stop recording, rewind the tape and listen to what just happened. (2:12)
Then a small song, Hello Stretch Coconut Today. (0:05)
The recording took place on cleaning day, so I recorded the vacuum cleaner’s visit to my room, a bit of it can be heard here. (0:38)
I started a segment with a hello song which contained the name “Stretch Nepo”, which had been made up by me as I had a magnet on my blackboard which said “Stretch” and I had some alphabet magnets spelling “Open”, I reversed the word “Open”. (0:43)
I also had a fascination with supermarket receipts, and for some reason recorded a segment where I checked the accuracy of them with a calculator, this is one such example. (0:32)
Then I asked dad a maths question and checked that with the calculator. At that age 120-106 is a tough question. (0:28)
This is followed by a song called “Meow” (0:30)
Then I had the radio going while I played on my mini-piano. (1:07)
Next up is a song called “Salp is radio music”. (0:23)
Then we have a segment which makes use of one of those green bendy pipe things that are often sold at fairs/shows/etc. (0:26)
And finally, The Important Song, which I think I got the name for from an ABC Kids program. (0:28)
Alrighty then, time to start a new category and in the process a new series.
At the moment I am working on restoring the many audio cassette recordings of myself, which are all circa 1993-2000, these all vary in content and I am working through them in alphabetical order. As I get through each one I will put together a highlights package from each one and put it online for you.
The first one is circa 1997 and was titled “2CC”, this is probably the most ridiculous trademark infringement of all time, and I gladly accept that I do not own that name and so I shall explain why I used it.
This was around the time that 2CC (the radio station) were moving into talk radio in a serious way, and it also was a time in which I began to enjoy talk radio an awful lot…so much so in fact that I produced a series of tapes which contained me running my own talk radio show where I did all the voices (even my somewhat loopy callers, and my panel op, and the very high pitched newsreader) on the ficticious radio stations “1385AM” and “392FM” (The first of which doesn’t fit in with a the 9Khz stepping system used in Australia, and the second being so far out of the FM spectrum it isn’t funny). I suppose the main reason for using the 2CC name was to honour the station which got me interested in talk radio in the first place.
2CC (the tape) spanned two 90 minute tapes (although the TDK tapes were usually slightly overtime, so they were probably closer to 95-100 minutes). Here I have picked a bunch of highlights and MP3ed them for you.
Firstly we start with one of the many themes for the show (0:13)
Then we go and take an excerpt of one of my favourite callers, Bang, who just had to sing a song about his name, and I joined in (3:45)
After this we have one of my many “Walkie Talkie Time” segments where I got out my Walkie Talkies and used them, these were those kids Walkie Talkies which you can find in most toy shops which operate on the 27Mhz frequency, this one just happened to be an airport report. (2:15)
And then finally we go to Mr. Walk, another one of my loopy but loveable callers who happened to enjoy walking…due to somebody else in the house overhearing this and bursting into laughter, I promptly did the same and had to take a break…this is the pre-break section of the call. (1:52)
In total the whole highlights package goes for 6 minutes and 7 seconds and is just under 3MB in size.