In One Ear
Reader's Digest UK|Reader's Digest April 2021
This month, Olly Mann ponders the sentimentality of forgotten audios, and why he won't be throwing them out
Olly Mann

I HAVE ALWAYS been a diligent archivist. All my photos are in albums. My radio scripts are boxed away; my TV appearances, however fleeting, uploaded to Dropbox. Documents of note (my university admission letter, my ticket to the 2012 Olympics) reside in a sacred filing cabinet.

Frankly, I’m not sure why I do this. Perhaps, as a young adult, I fantasised the British Library would one day build an annexe in my honour, so that future generations might marvel at my achievements and pronouncements. Now, nearly 40, I am under no such illusions. I understand that my precious memories will be landfill by 2100. Yet still, the mementoes pile up.

Lockdown offered an opportunity to explore this archive: most recently, a box of cassettes and minidiscs, committed to the attic circa 2005. These are mostly mixtapes—songs I taped off the radio as a teenager, or burned off CDs borrowed from the library. I can confirm that Your Woman by White Town (1997) and Walk Like A Panther by The All Seeing I (1999) are both still bangers. On reflection, I am less convinced by Hooray For Boobies by The Bloodhound Gang.

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