When she lost a homemade tape of her favourite pop hits during a Spanish holiday, 12-year-old Stella Wedell was convinced she wouldn’t see it again.
But 26 years later she was stunned to come across it – on display in a Swedish art gallery.
The tape, which had been lost in either the Costa Brava or Majorca in 1993, had somehow washed up more than 1,200 miles away in the Canary Islands in 2017.
And it still worked.
Stella Wedell lost her homemade tape of pop songs on Spanish holiday aged 12. But 26 years later she was stunned to come across it – on display in a Swedish art gallery. Pictured: Miss Wedell in Scandinavia in 2019
Artist Mandy Barker, who specialises in photographing marine plastic pollution, found it on a beach in Fuerteventura.
Miss Barker, from Leeds, sent the tape to a professional audio restorer.
It still played and he was able to list the tracks, which feature on the CD Best Of 93 and include hits by Pet Shop Boys, Shaggy, UB40 and Bob Marley.
She decided to include it in her touring exhibition Sea Of Artefacts.
Last summer Miss Wedell, from Berlin, went on holiday to Scandinavia and happened to visit the exhibition while she was in Stockholm.
The mixtape was found washed up on a beach in the Canary Islands in 2017
The tape still played and included hits by Pet Shop Boys, Shaggy, UB40 and Bob Marley
She was astonished to see the rusty cassette on display, alongside a list of tracks to show its age.
Miss Barker was equally amazed to receive an email from Miss Wedell to say it was her tape.
Miss Wedell said: ‘When I was reading the track list, it seemed very familiar to me.
‘So I took a picture of it and compared it with the original CD from 1993, which I still have – and it was exactly the same tracklist, but starting with track three.
I remember that I didn’t like the first two songs. I always made tapes from my CDs at this time to listen to them with my Walkman.’
Stella Wedell on holiday in Spain in the early 1990s. Last summer Miss Wedell, from Berlin, went on holiday to Scandinavia and happened to visit the exhibition while she was in Stockholm
After sending the tape to a special audio restorer, artist Mandy Barker (above) decided to include it in her touring exhibition Sea Of Artefacts
Miss Barker said: ‘It was an astounding chance for Stella to walk into my exhibition and recognise her tape.’
She told Professor Richard Thompson, head of the international marine litter research unit at the University of Plymouth.
‘It is very difficult to say exactly how long the tape has been in the sea,’ he said.
‘But the fact it has survived intact shows the durability of plastic and the threat it can pose to the marine environment.’
The tape will continue touring as part of the exhibition, before being returned to Miss Wedell.
The tape was packed songs from Miss Weddell’s youth, including ’80s favourites Pet Shop Boys
And here’s what’s on it:
1. Somebody Dance With Me – DJ BoBo
2. Would I Lie To You? – Charles & Eddie
3. The Jungle Book Groove – Disney Cast
4. Rock With You – Inner Circle
5. Do You See The Light – Snap!
6. One Love – Dr Alban
7. More and More – Captain Hollywood Project
8. Oh Carolina – Shaggy
9. The Key, The Secret – Urban Cookie Collective
10. It Keeps Rainin’ (Tears From My Eyes) – Bitty McLean
11. Summer Summer – Loft
12. Never Let Her Slip Away – Undercover
13. Power Of American Natives – Dance 2 Trance
14. Iron Lion Zion – Bob Marley & The Wailers
15. Sweet Harmony – The Beloved
16. Give It Up – Cut ‘n’ Move
17. Go West – Pet Shop Boys
18. Runaway Train – Soul Asylum
19. (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You – UB40
20. Mr. Vain – Culture Beat