Tale of the tapes: St. John's woman hopes to find someone to fix her late grandfather's Walkman

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Tale of the tapes: St. John's woman hopes to find someone to fix her late grandfather's Walkman

Tale of the tapes: St. John's woman hopes to find someone to fix her late grandfather's Walkman

Naomi Russell's music source of choice is old-school-meets-new-school.

She uses Apple's ubiquitous white headphones plugged into a bright yellow Sony Sports Walkman, the portable cassette player once clipped to countless belts around the world in the '80s.

"I have this interest in old technology. I collect old cameras, and older forms of music as well. I have an iPod Nano and I have this," she told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

But this Walkman is special — it used to belong to her grandfather, Albert Kearley. She inherited it last year after he died.

"It was my pop's so it has some sentimental value to it," said Russell, 20.

"I don't know what it is. Maybe partly because I saw him using it a few times and I thought it was cool."

Musical family — on cassette

Her father — musician Kelly Russell, original member of Figgy Duff and the Wonderful Grand Band — used to record Naomi and her sister on cassette singing and playing instruments, tapes she wishes she could find, to be played on the technology from the era.

Beyond the connection to her grandfather, Russell says part of the appeal is the challenge of looking for — and the payoff of finding — music for it.

"I like the idea of something that is seemingly out of style. I have an iPhone, just like many people. It's so easy. You can download music within seconds on Apple Music now. It's way easier than it would have been," she said.

"I remember I used to download music off the internet all the time, and I still sometimes do, but it's definitely gotten easier to get music these days. So I think it's the fact that it's a challenge with some of this old technology. You have to work for your music."

Hunting for music

And work to get it repaired. The Walkman was working when she got it last year, but it has since conked out. She's posted an ad on Facebook looking for help.

"There's a few places and a few people around that've said that they might be able to fix it," she said.

In the meantime, she's on the hunt for cassettes. She inherited some with the Walkman, mostly her pop's easy listening tapes — not her favourite. She's been looking online and in thrift stores.

"I went out and bought myself a Foreigner tape at the thrift store," she said. "My mom was super-disappointed in me. She's like, 'Ugh, Foreigner, really?' Yeah! Why not?"