Vinyl Nights

Moving furniture about in the sitting room has put me back in touch with my vinyl. For some forgotten reason I had it across the room from the turntable. Now they are reunited and, after balancing the stylus under Mike’s expert guidance, I have been enjoying an evening of glorious memories of the 12″ kind.
Mike used to run a shop up the road and rescued VCRs and other electrical gadgets from premature retirement. When he gave up the shop and became a man with a van, I was lucky enough to still have his mobile number. Today, I decided the non-functioning stylus arm had to be sorted. I rang Mike. His wife answered. He’s retired, she told me. My heart sank.
Fortunately Mike called me back and guided me through everything I needed to do. A hero.
So the rest of the day has been enlivened by spinning the discs.
I don’t care what you say about CDs, they do not have the quality of vinyl. There’s an immediacy, a rawness. As I write this sentence Billy Bragg is singing (sic) on Life’s a Riot , being the Milkman of Human Kindness.
The other week I was thinking of selling the vinyl and the turntable. Space is at a premium chez IsobelandCat and I thought it might be time. I went into MCQ, one of the best shops in the world, and asked advice. Really I wanted to speak to Clyde, the owner, but he wasn’t there. The man behind the counter looked as though he was only recently out of school. I hesitated, asked if Clyde was around and when I got the negative, asked my question. What sort of deck? said the young man. Dual, I answered. Keep it, he said. He turned out to be family, as was the woman my side of the counter who I had mistaken for a customer. We ended up having a chat. I confessed to having a fantasy about Mary Portas coming into MCQ. Clyde does not understand the concept of minimalism. This is a shop where customers shuffle sideways to make room for each other. Sometimes they even have to go out into the street and come back in again. You do not browse. The young man reckoned Mary would have met her match in Clyde, but suggested that a battle between Alex Polizzi and Clyde would be worth watching. He thought Alex might win. I wouldn’t bet on it. Unfortunately the website doesn’t include photos of Clyde’s shop so you’ll have to take my word for it. Maybe I’ll go in with a camera some day soon. I must go in to thank Clyde’s nephew. Listening to JJ Cale for the first time in years and just having to get up and dance, seeing my schoolgirl writing on inner sleeves (remember how we used to lend and borrow records? the only way of making sure they came back in the right packaging was to write your name on everything?) and now, Billy having come to an end, listening to a much played copy of Transformer, scratches from the earlier deck I bought from Boots for under Β£20, and feeling privileged and grateful for teenage years that included Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. Suddenly being in my late prime seems like a badge of honour.

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17 thoughts on “Vinyl Nights

  1. Late in prime does has its advantages, but I am starting to forget what the advantages are. Your post, did sadden me, as it got me thinking what a numb skull I was; when I pitched all my vinyl records in the move from the old to the present house. We all do, what we regret at some point in our lives?

    Not sure if your able to listen to Radio Canada or if BBC Radio rebroadcasts radio series from other countries Radio Canada does here. Randy Bachman of Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive fame does a weekly radio broadcast called Vinyl Tap that does such a wonderful job of highlighting the importance of music our life -not just rock and roll. The man lives and breaths music, an his enthusiasm is catching to young, prime and older than prime.

    Wait, I think you can listen to his shows online (you would think I’d have known it could be attained on the net -one the signs of being past prime). Here is the link ……

    http://music.cbc.ca/#/Randy-Bachmans-Vinyl-Tap

    • Thanks for the tip. I shall investigate. I weeded my albums several years back, so have far fewer, and looking last night there are a couple more that could go. But the evening ended with 45s and straight back to punk/new wave: Tom Robinson Band, The Members, The Clash. I had to get to bed, but am looking forward to some more tonight.

      • Agreed – read the two guardian links you sent – Gove scares me – still don’t get why the debate is about structure and managment of schoolsrather than millions of people lack basic numeracy and literacy skills. He won;t find the answers in the States.

        Libraries are good – but i thought the writer over eulogises them – they perform a function – if people want to use the function great – if they don’t no biggie. I use my local library a fair bit but only because the books I borrow are too expensive to buy!

        • My local library used to be a treasure trove. Now it lacks substance. The books are culled after just six months. The history section is barely more than a shelf. Impossible to discover authors, other than Dickens etc, whose book are not freely available in Waterstone’s.
          Gove both frightens and depresses me. His vision seems to be of pupils as robots, empty vessels to be filled. It sounds bad news to me, and smacks of control.

  2. Isobel, I have no vinyl and you’ve made me want to run out and gather some up! What a great way to spend your time. I’m even a little emotional. I may come to visit πŸ™‚

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