Lis­ten well

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

IBELONG to that gen­er­a­tion too young to ac­tu­ally en­joy vinyl records but ex­pe­ri­enced them vi­car­i­ously through par­ents’ and sib­lings’ lis­ten­ing habits.

For us young ones, that cor­ner of the house was off-lim­its and they were to be avoided at all cost much like the faux ex­pen­sive celadons and crys­tals dis­played at var­i­ous points in the cramped liv­ing room like hur­dles for a pre­co­cious tod­dler’s imag­i­nary ob­sta­cle course. But cu­rios­ity killed many par­ents’ stereo equip­ment and record col­lec­tion.

That was the case for my fa­ther’s prized Vic­tor record and eight track player that, af­ter a pro­tracted strug­gle, fi­nally suc­cumbed when the tod­dler that was me fi­nally crossed bat­tle lines to in­flict per­ma­nent dam­age on the del­i­cate au­dio equip­ment.

The Achilles heel of any Hi-Fi au­dio equip­ment at that time was the frag­ile di­a­mond sty­lus that must be oh so care­fully low­ered into the spin­ning vinyl. If the nee­dle was care­lessly dropped or ac­ci­den­tally brushed with too much force, the thing could break.

I don’t re­mem­ber ex­actly how I ex­actly caused the de­struc­tion of my fa­ther’s nee­dle, for­give the Freudian ref­er­ence. But I do re­mem­ber how since then, the stereo equip­ment oc­cu­pied that dark cor­ner of the liv­ing room, mute and cov­ered in a white knit­ted quilt of sorts.

My mother was also into knit­ting at that time and it was all the rage among the women house­wives of the neigh­bor­hood. That the whole con­trap­tion re­mained there at the cor­ner of the liv­ing room be­side the new star of the fam­ily, the col­ored tele­vi­sion with re­mote, years later, and not thrown or placed in the junk limbo-sta­tus pile in the garahe spoke of how the stereo equip­ment oc­cu­pied a spe­cial place in the fam­ily’s as­pi­ra­tionally mid­dle class imag­i­nary. How­ever, more than be­ing sta­tus sym­bols that mired the so­cial climb- ing era of the 70s and the 80s, the stereo, as it was lov­ingly called, I be­lieved, was my par­ent’s link to their youth. And they weren’t much too old in the late 70s, come to think of it since I dis­tinctly re­mem­ber The Bea­tles and The Car­pen­ters as part of their record col­lec­tion, rea­sons why when the I Am Sam sound­track and the Car­pen­ter’s cover al­bum came out in the 90s, it was not a sur­prise that I knew all the songs by heart.

I re­mem­ber there was al­ways con­stant talk of re­viv­ing the crip­pled equip­ment and mak­ing it sing again but nee­dles were to be sourced from a mys­ti­cal far away land called Quiapo - a place too dis­tant for Makati res­i­dents at that time.

The tech­ni­cal process of find­ing the match­ing ex­pen­sive nee­dle also stumped them pro­vin­cial folk. Be­sides, vinyl by the late 80s was on the way out for a new kind of medium.

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