I recently became the proud owner of a dark Blue 1994 Chevrolet Blazer, after a period of not owning or driving a car for almost 10 years. In the car is a cassette tape player and four speakers; Two in the front and two in the rear. Only the two right ones work well, with the rear left having terrible distortion even at low volume and the front left not working at all. Now, any reasonably intelligent person will know, that if you play a stereo recording on this system with sound only coming through the right speakers, you will be missing some of the recording, and only an idiot would be happy to listen to the recording like that. I am not an idiot, but I am a cheap skate.
With music radio being completely unacceptable in the area where I live ("Hitkicker 99.7!?" Seriously!?), I am thankful that I have the option of playing tapes in my car. However, because of the fact that I only have decent sound coming through the right speakers, I have opted to record some of my favorite music onto tape. In mono. A process that first involved buying a second-hand cassette deck from a charity shop which raises money for and is run by women from a local shelter. I then converted some MP3’s to mono, put them into playlists and recorded them onto Sony C90 tapes ($1.78 for two in Walmart) via the cassette deck connected directly to my computer.
To finish everything off neatly, I’ve removed the outer control levers from the Cassette tape player in the car that control front and rear speaker selection and balance. I now have it set permanently to have the sound only come from the front right speaker. I would have preferred stereo in my car, but I really can’t be bothered trying to fix the speakers and now I’ve been playing my tapes in mono like this for a couple of weeks, I kind of like it. It fits with who I am some levels. Cheap and lazy? Well, yes. But also, I have always liked old things and things that are a bit rough around the edges. This most definitely applies to cars.
When I was a boy, I used to take perfectly good toy cars and place them in my Stepfather’s vice in his workshop, then, very carefully, so as not to ruin the wheel alignment, I would bend them and scratch them and even burn them a little. This was because I wanted to make them look as if they had been in accidents or even just make them look old and used. Even in my late twenties, when I bought a toy racing track with electric cars, I did the same thing. At this point, I was even taking photographs of my work on the cars. So, I am starting to believe that it may have always been my destiny, at least in an automotive way, to have a beat up old Chevrolet with a dodgy music system.