So there I was, recording an interview for the BBC World Service on the CD's 25th birthday -- on the European strand of the WS at 5:40pm this afternoon, if you're listening -- when I was asked about the relative stamina of the format.
"It may be twenty five years old, but don't forget that's only three years longer than eight track managed", I said.
There was a pause. "What's eight track?" asked the interviewer.
The producer looked over. "It's one of those big cassettes with country and western on, isn't it?" he said.
Sigh.This year, I've had "What's a compact cassette?", "What's CP/M?", and, most terrifying of all, "What's that? An iPod? REALLY? But it's so huge! Did they really make them that big?" when a 14 year old daughter of a friend of mine caught sight of my 3rd generation 40GB behemoth of a whale of a leviathan outdated legacy retro device.
I suppose there's no reason the kids of today should know about eight track: although the last mass market cartridge was Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits in 1988 (pick the signifiers out of that, pop fans), the US market had been dying for years and the UK market never really got going at all. And did you know that eight track was designed (in the face of many people saying that it was impossible to get tracks that narrow on magnetic tape) by Bill Lear, who also created the eponymous jet?
Let's not get onto its tiny cousin, the Microdrive...