In Christmas 2011 Dubber made a mix tape for his friends, specifically his friends on Twitter. I don't fully remember the mechanics of how this all came together but it's the sort of hopeful, low key, ephemeral, and real thing that used to come about through being very online in Birmingham around this time.
I don't have a CD player anymore, yet this little tchotchke remains part of my life. It has survived several house moves and clear outs, and it has even outlived my Twitter account itself.
Materially this item is very simple. A CDR with a hand written label is wrapped in the ubiquitous, stationery cupboard issue, plastic sleeve. A black and white liner note, which could have been printed on the office photocopier, explains the intentions and sentiment of the gift, and lists the tracks. The modesty of the thing is the point—the simplicity is its store of meaning.
When it was created, the value of this CD was in its thoughtfulness. It realised social connections through a simple act of DIY making. It took a thing that was simple—the ease of digitally sharing music—and made it more difficult: the object had to be made, and it had to be received in person. All this friction spoke to the ways in which the giver and receiver valued their online connections. This came about through Twitter, but most of it was enacted "IRL", in a pub and over a photocopier.
#brumsanta is an example of a way of doing things with social media that is lost in time, at least for me. As an historical object this CD functions as the key to this story and more—it's a Rosetta Stone that helps to unlock the memories of how I lived my digitally mediated life in 2011. Perhaps it stirs some memories for you too? I suspect it does.