Something that I miss about this marvelous age of social media is the mystery that once surrounded new found friends. Upon a visit to England back in 2000 I was fortunate to meet an amazing girl who went by the name of Michelle. We clicked instantly thanks to our mutual love and respect for music, film and art. It was most definitely a sliding doors moment on the dancefloor at a club in London called Trash, which found its name from a Suede single off their 1996 LP, “Coming Up”, a UK and European chart topping album that spawned 5 top 10 singles in the UK alone. I digress.
With the internet still in its infancy and mobile phones, at this time a basic and expensive form of communication Michelle and I took to writing letters to one another upon my return home to Australia. We would send a wide array of items to each other. Scented letters, postcards, photos, short essays on our favourite albums. You name it, we sent it.
One morning I opened up my post office box to find a brown parcel within. Michelle went by the name of Voxy to her friends back in England. All her packages sent to me arrived with “from your Voxy” on the back. It always brought a smile to my face.
This particular package contained the usual letter and postcard along with a couple of surprises. First up was a cool photograph of Michelle that her flat mate had taken of her in their London flat. Rule Britannia!
Also included in this larger than normal parcel were four cassette tapes that included a broad mix of music, mainly British. Michelle’s favourite band in the world at that time was Strangelove, a seminal southern English act that found their time in the sun around the time of the ill fated, gulp, “Britpop” era.
The first tape included a collection of various tracks from English, Swedish and Belgium bands such as Primal Scream, The Venus In Furs, Soulwax, Geneva and Elevator Suite. What made each tape so special was that they included hand written liner notes and messages. A lot of thought and time had gone into creating these gems.
We must also remember this was still in the time where downloading wasn’t common and even CD-R’s had yet to have an impact on the market. So it was all “High Fidelity” with mix tapes. It’s how you expressed yourself to others. If you don’t know what I mean you need to watch the John Cusak film, “High Fidelity”. Only do this mind, once you have read the Nick Hornby novel of the same name please.
The second tape was full of Strangelove B-Sides. Patrick Duff shines on these songs. His voice, ever so sweet. This particular cassette became a regular on my high fi.
Tape three was entitled the “TAKE ME TO BED TAPE….” Goodness I thought! Within the confines of this particular gift were the sounds of The Sneaker Pimps, The Dirty Three, The The, The Doves, Rialto, The Who and Ride. What a mixtape I must say!
Last in the bag was a collection of selected Strangelove album tracks. Again, Patrick Duff excelled in his ability to deliver sumptuous vocals with every song. His voice is most definitely one you can drift asleep to at night.
My sentimental side always wondered what became of Michelle. With the passing of time we drifted and lost contact. For those couple of years we were in regular contact I shared some beautiful exchanges with her and still vividly remember the thrill of opening the post box to find her countless gifts.
Perhaps this is what is missing from relationships today? We all seem too busy, too tired, too uptight and perhaps just too lazy to take the time and put in the effort with the one you admire.
Slow down and smell the roses. You won’t be able to smell them forever so embrace and enjoy every treasured moment with your loved one before the moment is gone.