A store in Abu Dhabi is one of the last remaining cassette shops, and it's really giving us serious 70s, 80s and 90s blues.
Al Balad Audio Cassettes, owned by Abdul Hamid, has been serving customers for more than 30 years, despite the new forms of media we have today.
The store includes tapes of legendary Arab singers Umm Kulthoum and Fairouz, as well as the contemporary Hussain Al Jassmi.
The National reports that the shop contains hundreds of tapes - and they are Hamid's pride and joy. He walks around the store and points out the best-sellers, such as Emirati artists Mehad Hamad and Ahlam, but also Western artists such as the boyband 5ive (yes, from 1997) and Ja Rule.
Does this store include a time machine? Or are people who go there just perpetually stuck in a music era we've all forgotten?
The tapes are worth 10 AED each ($2.7) and Hamid sells about 100 each week. Even though he recognizes that business has fallen and his commodity isn't as hot as it once was, he still gets 40 to 50 people in his store every day.
As a Beiruti with no means of getting to Abu Dhabi, I'm feeling serious "cassette envy."
I remember the very first tape I bought, Britney Spears' Baby One More time in 1999. I listened to it over and over again, flipping sides and winding it back up.
So, if you're experiencing the extreme nostalgia trip I am, maybe you should learn about these really cool cassette stores we have right here in Beirut, where you know we refuse to let go of the past.
1. Hamra Vintage - it's in the name!
Hamra Vintage is a store on Makdessi street that specializes in all things antique, including our beloved cassettes.
The store's Instagram page includes old-time typewriters and cameras, as well as lamps and sconces. It's basically the blast from the past you need right now.
2. You can count on Deep Music for deep feelings
Located in Hamra as well, this cassette-only store is a hidden gem! The shop owner usually plays Fairouz out in the open streets, and can be missed in the blink of an eye. So, be on the lookout if you're a 90s freak.
3. Kickin' it old style at home
Who said you needed the latest technology to enjoy music? Some of us like it vintage.
This photo was sent to us by one of the writers at YallaFeed (StepFeed's sister website). Her mother is very proud of her collection and old stereo.
Because old is gold.