Last week Nick and I finally bought the perfect piece of furniture. We had had it in mind for a long time but never actually believed we would find it.
It’s something to perch the TV on and is big enough to house the TV recorder and also our ancient music system. We’re not into technology that much, in the sense that we replace our TV’s when they finally conk out, not when new fangled models come on the market. So we haven’t got a huge TV that you fix to the wall and we have resisted chucking out our old CD player because it still works perfectly well.
Once it was installed we found there was space on it for another piece of kit. Our old turntable, which has been in the garage for at least ten years. We very nearly took it to the tip several times but stopped when we thought if we did that, how would we ever play our huge collection of vinyl records?
So Nick dug it out from under piles of other miscellaneous stuff, plugged it in and to our amazement it worked, straight away. Some may think there’s no reason why it shouldn’t but I was surprised. The first album we played, to see if it worked, was Tumbleweed Connection. I haven’t listened to that for maybe 15 years.
Then I fetched, from the shelves in the study upstairs where all our old records are kept, the very first one I bought with my student grant in 1970. The Turning Point by John Mayall. I played it over and over in my grotty student bedsit for months – I only owned about a dozen records then – but haven’t heard it for probably at least 20 years. It was amazing to listen to it again. The quality of the sound was still great and there’s something special about vinyl. Having the album cover in your hand, slightly tatty and complete with coffee stains, surely has to be so much better than looking at a computer screen while you download the tracks you like.
Listening to it took me right back to those student days, the winter of 1970, living in one room with only a tiny gas fire for heating, eating baked beans most evenings because I could only afford meat once a week. Staying late in the library to save on the gas. Then the summer of 1971, walking the nearby park in the evenings because it was so unbearably hot in my attic room.
The next record we played was my Grace Jones album, the one with the astonishing cover. I always thought it odd that she should pose like that but feel the need to stand on a mat! More memories came flooding back.
There are probably upwards of 150 records in our vinyl collection, from the mid 60’s when we first started buying them, up to the late 80’s when we started buying CD’s. A slice of our younger lives, and all the more interesting because Nick and I hadn’t met at that point – each half of the collection is different, reflecting our separates lives and tastes at that time. Although there are two copies of a few classics.
It will be interesting to see how our friends react. I don’t know anyone who still plays their vinyl records – most people seem to have fancy music systems that play chosen songs all evening using their computer. I expect they’ll be quite envious ….. until we have to get up from the table and turn the record over every fifteen minutes !!
Have a good week !!