Sometime circa 2002 my wife bought me this sweet little SONY recording unit. Probably this device was used most commonly to record interviews or as a dictation machine. Its portability and compactness are useful for discrete recording and it is a fairly quiet unit. I have recorded music ideas, trial runs of stories for readings, snippets of conversation and interviews with my device. I still use it occasionally but mostly it has been replaced by the several digital Zoom recorders in the household and at work. In the early 2000s I could still find tapes for $1.89 at the Super Savings Discount Store at Queen Street and Brock. That store later became a fancy sushi restaurant and then a brew pub, a sign of gentrification hitting Parkdale, the Toronto community I called home for almost two decades.
Take this gem from the Bella Did Ya Eat brunch at the Free Times Cafe, which I would date as having been recorded some time in 2004 or 2005. I wasn’t an archivist in those days, so I didn’t know to date my recordings and record metadata meticulously. Still it is a nice mix of sounds from the buffet brunch I worked every Sunday morning for the better part of four years, the chaos of it, the kind of replication of a family tradition, the personal touches of the owner and creator Judy Perly. I have some stories I could tell but the recording situates the listener in the midst of the hubbub, in part because the recorder was out of sight and out of mind for the participants.