What goes around, comes around, doesn’t it? In some cases, quite literally around and around and around...
I’m talking about vinyl LPs and singles, record players, turntables and gramophones. They are enjoying a bit of a renaissance, a small analogue ripple fighting back against the digital tsunami.
And, ever with an eye on the zeitgeist and always bang on trend, we have bought ourselves a new turntable so we can reintroduce the crackle, pop and hiss to music chez nous.
It started after we went to supper with some friends. “Bring your records,” they said. “We’ve got a record player.”
Now we knew that we had a few old vinyls buried somewhere, so we fossicked around for a while and unearthed them. We actually found we had around 100, many bought from local shops like Andy’s Records in Norwich.
We sat down and started going through them, the musty waft from the yellowing paper sleeves filling the room. Lawks, what a mash-up of musical magic and long-forgotten bilge we have.
Top of the shame pops for me is probably the 12-inch single version of the 1983 song 99 Red Balloons by Nena, in the original German. That’s 99 Luftballons and not one fathomable reason why I might have bought it.
There are others – Toto springs to mind – which suggest that I must have been wrestling with a musical taste demon and lost. But there are some 80s wonders as well; Imagination, anyone? Human League? Of course. And two copies of ABC’s Lexicon of Love, because everyone has two copies. Mrs C initially claimed the musical high ground with some Steve Harley and early Roxy Music before slipping a little with Golden Earring, Split Enz and some dismal disco cover compilations.
So we picked a couple of LPs and went to our friends to be captivated again by hearing longlost sounds linked to younger, simpler days. Now we have our own player, our Christmas present to ourselves, and we have designated Friday nights as music nights, evenings when the TV remote is undisturbed and we take turns choosing which sounds we’d like to revisit. Happily most of the vinyl is in good nick, and the technology of the modern turntable means that the warmth and richness missing from modern sound systems is restored.
The odd pop, skip and jump is to be expected, as is the peculiar pleasure of plucking the fluff from the needle after playing some of our dustier specimens.
And it has been a delight. The music has revived old memories – many involving the Samson & Hercules, Tudor Hall, Yarmouth’s Rosie O’Grady’s or West Runton Pavilion – and it usually brings a smile. Good grooves!
A record collection. No, not ours