February 18, 2013

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW

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.

table

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 !!

15 comments:

  1. That is a lovely bit of furniture. Bob is trying to put all our vinyl collection onto the computer - but there is something lovely about looking at the cardboard covers and reading the sleeve notes. And surely the get-up-and-turn-it-over thing is a good obesity-fighting exercise!!

    Enjoy the music! xx

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  2. One of Mayall's best. Love the mouth music on ROOM TO MOVE.
    Tumbleweed Connection along with Madman across the water are both still the best of Elton John.
    Sounds like we both have the same collection of Vinyl - Gosh we must be old!
    Good listening to you both. I can see you both holding hands on the sofa with a hot cup of Milo before popping off to bed at 8.30.
    Goodnight.

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  3. That's a practical and stylish piece Jean. What a bonus that you can use the turntable again too. Our vinyl is in the garden shed I'm afraid. If I ever get them out I think I'd head for Supertramp's Crime of the Century.

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  4. I like your cabinet.

    Our turntable has moved to our son's room. he scours the charity shops looking for vinyl albums. We have a large collection but rarely play any. The collection was even larger before I had a brainwave in the early 90's to have a car boot stall and sold quite a few at 50p. Looking back I can't quite believe I did that!

    Linking with Craig's comment I can't quite decide whether my 'must play' would be Hotel California - Eagles, Blue - Joni Mitchell, Harvest - Neil Young or Bridge Over Troubled Water.

    Enjoy,,,

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    1. Gaynor, I have often intended to take a load of our records to the charity shop, but something stopped me every time. Now I'm glad I didn't.

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  5. Lovely and very partical piece of furniture, Jean! Love it.

    Talking vinyl records, anyone remember 'Mother's Pride'? No, not the loaf. It's title of 1970-ies album by Fanny, one of the very first 'girls bands' - kind of Spice Girls or Bangles 'avant-la-lettre'. They never had a hit in Belgium, but my Kentish hostess' son, J., used to play the album all day long during one of my 'language holidays'. In the end I was so hooked on the songs that I bought a copy of the album and brought it home. It survived the ferry crossing and is still one of my favourites ... although is sounds a bit outdated ;) Martine

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    1. Martine, I do vaguely remember Mother's Pride - mainly because we ate a lot of it at the time !!
      I don't think it matters how outdated a record sounds if it transports you back to happy times.

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  6. Sadly I left our turntable and all our records behind in S. Africa, space was a problem but I now could kick myself very hard! Diane

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  7. My brother had a gerbil named Grace Jones. Whenever I see her/hear her name I always laugh for I think of a rodent rather.

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    1. Spo, I almost wish you hadn't told me that....I will think of it every time now !!

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  8. I do like your cabinet, Jean, and know just what you man about those special tracks. I never bought records as a student as I didn't have a record-player and my big, now-unused, collection is of cassettes, which don't have the same nostalgic connotations. :-)

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    1. Perpetua, tapes just didn't have the charm or durability of vinyl records - a lot of mine got chewed up in the car tape player and the rest went in the dustbin years ago - I just knew I never wanted to play them again, unlike the vinyls which I am so glad I hung on to.

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  9. When it came time to leave California and move to France in 2003, we realized that the turntable and several hundred vinyl LPs had to go. I sold the turntable to a 20-year-old buyer who arrived by public transit and declined my offer to drive him and the turntable back to his apartment in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of SF. I tried to sell the albums but found few takers. I gave them away, basically. Many went to charities.

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    1. Ken, I wonder if you miss them.
      I didn't think I missed mine until I had the chance to play them again and now I'm so glad I've still got them.

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  10. Like your other commenting folk I got rid of my vinyl practically the day those new fangled 'indestructible' CDs appeared with their shiny temptingness. Years later my ex wife moaned at me buying all the old Leo Sayer albums I was so fond of in the 1970s!



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