It’s quite remarkable how distinct the human voice can be from person to person. Even after a long period of time we can often recognise somebody just by hearing them speak. We’ve been copying audio and video tapes to disc for many years. We’ll often see places we know ourselves but it’s very rare that we recognise any of the people in the recordings.
Recently a customer brought an audio tape into the office of a short radio interview from 30 years ago featuring some of her relatives in the UK and in Australia. The tape had been recorded from a Manchester radio station back in 1985. The interview was hosted by a presenter whose voice I immediately recognised as being familiar.
I couldn’t think of the lady presenter’s name however my failing brain cells where saved by a quick online search which told me that she was called Susie Mathis. Three decades ago I had no idea what Susie Mathis looked like but I did know her voice. Today in just a few clicks Google produced photos, video and a biography of her work courtesy of Wikipedia. This in turn triggered my curiosity about the other radio presenters from my youth and what they might be doing today leading me on a technological trip down memory lane.
Will you laugh, cry or both?
When we look at old photographs we see a snapshot in time and we may think about where it was took or the occasion but hearing voices again or in the case of video seeing and hearing people speaking can be much more emotive. Many customers have told me that they’ve cried watching or listening to their discs because of the emotion brought about by seeing or hearing their loved ones who have passed away.
The audio cassette mentioned above was kept in a drawer for thirty years unplayed. Now it’s been transferred to CD for our customer with an extra copy made to send to their relatives in Australia. I don’t know if they will laugh, cry or a bit of both but I do recognise and respect the importance of the memories we’re entrusted with on each and every tape transfer.