I was having a chat with John, somewhere close to the end of a
rainbow and I broached the idea that we should have a record player
in our dressing room. Within a few days, voila, monsieur Taylor had
delivered. There it was, looking strangely modern, majestically
occupying a small table in the corner and commanding instant respect
from every visitor. As if drawn by magnetism, we each made our
approach to the deck, rifled through the slim pile of 12'' discs on
offer and slowly lowered the needle into the grooves to bring the
sound of the vinyl experience to our room. We were overwhelmed with
joy, what was this mysterious feeling gatecrashing the backstage
area? It was far reaching and highly contagious, the crew were
smiling uncontrollably, our tour manager had new spring in his step,
something had happened, could it possibly be a serious outbreak of
nostalgia? Maybe, but why was it so uplifting? Why did we all feel
the same? This outmoded apparatus had completely transformed our pre-
show routine. The simple truth is that the records sounded amazing,
they created a real mood, it was deeply satisfying, the crackles and
hisses only served to enhance the atmosphere.
I remember when a generic record company executive first played us a
CD in the 1980s, heralding it as: 'Progress.' 'Superior sound
quality.' Almost indestructible.' 'Never going to jump or skip.'
We were hoodwinked, we sacrificed Hi-Fidelity for convenience and
then it got worse, MP3, the junk food of all sound quality... Not to
mention the packaging, glorious gatefold covers, liner notes that you
could actually read and artwork that changed your universe.
Within a week our collection of albums grew at an exponential rate,
from Miles Davis to disco compilations, James Brown live to vintage
Kraftwerk. Blondie, Grace Jones, Sex Pistols, Stevie Wonder, The
Damned, Sly Stone, The Stones, Kate Bush, the Thunderball soundtrack,
Tommy, Station To Station! it was flowing in from every city, DJ
boxes were acquired and filled.
Then we went on to discover the wonderful world of premium vinyl,
that sacred environment inhabited by super cool sound freaks in
today's digitally dominated world. John bought me a copy of The Only
Ones first album, which had been a seminal release for me the first
time around. We had arrived, official afficionados, cruising through
the racks where most worthy new releases are available on extra
heavy fantastic plastic. Oh, the thrill of it all...
Why had we all forgotten how much fun records are? I realized that
this wasn't just about nostalgia at all, a truly great album will
always remain a great album whatever the format, but the visceral
ceremony of vinyl fetish and the shared pleasure of the listening
experience have not been superceded by the I Pod. I could continue to
wax lyrical about my personal rediscovery, I'm truly only scratching
the surface, but why not try it yourselves? You just might find you
get what you need...
Yours shrink wrapped with a kiss,