I found out about the new Tascam 144 Portastudio in 1981. Within a few months, after working days and nights as a kitchen porter, I bought one. All through autumn and early winter of 1981/82 I worked obsessively on my ‘Roll Royce of home cassettes’ . It was called On Any Normal Monday. We made up 30 copies and started sending it out in about March 82. Sounds reviewed it in their cassette column, Melody Maker gave it a really great review and even N.M.E gave it a good n review. It was £2.00 ( think) or 50p and a blank cassette. We coloured the sleeves in ourselves at night round the fire, with some home made beer. It really was a cottage industry thing, very exciting. The orders came in at the rate of about 7 a week.
We sent things to fanzines, which we bought in record shops. We were part of a little network. The network became international. It was distribution… of a sort. There was a guy in Switzerland called Rudi Tuscher, a guy in America called Mike Honeycutt. There was Joachim at Jarmusic Germany and a whole bunch of Brits. It wasn’t big but it was solid and very very friendly.
I spent all my nights replying to letters, colouring covers and planning new cassettes. That ‘s how Man at The Off License Tapes got formed. We never made any money. It was just a terrific thing to be doing. It was a small and rather ineffectual blow against an empire, too. If the Internet had existed then, though, we might really have had the revolution that we wanted…but as we know now, being ahead of your time is almost as useful as being behind your time. The best thing? It was really fun. And it did teach us all that if you didn’t like big bearded Daddy Music Biz, you didn’t have to join in with him. Like Lol of The Cleaners used to say: “In the music business, you have to wade through an awful lot of the brown stuff before you get to the green stuff.” In the end, we just thought.” Who needs money? Let’s have fun.