I have never downloaded any MP3 music. I did buy a CD 21 years ago but that was the 1st and last time that happened. I am a record fan. Vinyl is my drug.
I bought my first proper pair of turntables with a year and a half’s worth of money I’d saved from my paper-round from a shop that my mate Dave use to work at. Since then, I’ve amassed a lovely collection of records that encompass various black music genres. The pride and joy of my collection is my box of 7inch ska, boss reggae records many of which are original press and would impress any original dapper-dan Jamaican Rude-Boy.
When people ask me why I prefer the sounds from a vinyl I say that it’s a fuller, richer, warmer sound. It moves me. In many ways it is like comparing candlelight to LEDs. I can play records in a way that digital formats don’t allow. Mixing music with records is a real skill and requires much more attention than beat-matching with one of these modern things. There was a time when I used to play out quite often. These days things are different. Convenience took over and begun to kill an old fashioned sound boy like me.
Records turns sound into a physical object. It also holds a memory as I often remember where and when I bought the record and listening to it takes me back to that place and time. I like playing music as much as, if not more than listening to it. Switching the amp on, mixer on, decks on, headphone on. Flicking through the sleeves, looking at the jackets, removing the record, checking which side to play. Lifting the needle, carefully placing it, the anticipation of the first beat while the vinyl crackles into play.
I also enjoy record shopping. Book lovers often harp on about the smell of old books and the atmosphere of old bookshops. It’s a similar thing for record lovers. We have grown comfortable in the musty dusty cluttered confined space of an old record shop. We’ve grown accustomed to the unspoken etiquette of such places. We are like treasure hunters flicking through miles of vinyl in hope of one day finding that gem – unscathed, original and at a good price. We are hooked on that anticipation.
There was a time when I would traverse London at a drop of a needle to buy records. From Soho – Brixton – Tottenham I’d go where the music was. Sadly many of London’s great record shops have long gone. But there are still some quality shops out there with real music lovers working in them…Eldica in Dalston, Flashback and Haggle in Islington, Supertone of Brixton and Massive International in Camden top my current list.
These days I’ve noticed a slow revival of vinyl love. New enthusiasts have entered the society and now independent record shops are beginning to appear again. It is good to know that the legacy is fighting to survive instead of dwindling into memory. It feels good to know that more people are learning and rediscovering the undeniable beauty of quality over convenience when it comes to good music.
So with that I say “Puuuull uuuuuup n come again!!” to all the original sound boys still keeping it real.