"for the happy, the sad, I don't want to be, another page in your diary"

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Bring Back Vinyl

It’s cold, below zero, but thankfully the roads are not too icy. It’s mainly frost, which isn’t as slippery. I wear two pairs of gloves to keep my hands warm and they are just about warm enough. Luckily my Christmas present from L, my new cycling trousers, are very toasty.

Last week we had HMV complaining they’re on their uppers, now this week we have record clubs trying to re-launch vinyl.

Personally I have no sympathy for HMV. They spent all my record buying youth (so we’re going back anything up to 30 years) trying to shut down the little independent shops and when they’d managed it, in the end with help from the internet, they decided to stop selling records and sell computer games, DVDs and all manner of electronic equipment instead. Well, they don’t sell anything not in current top 40, and even then they place them in some bizarre random order or in a bizarre categorisation that nobody understands, confining the simplicity of an A-Z filing system to history. I just walk in... walk out... go on line these days. Hopeless.

Virgin were never any better of course. Now they expect sympathy. Ha. No chance. Personally, I think there is still a place on the high street for decent record shops, e.g. not HMV, who were just trying to sell to the general public, who weren't interested, rather than people like me. It is now a niche Market and if their absence creates space for someone else then it’s all to the good.

As for vinyl though. I embraced the CD wholeheartedly when it came out but now... I think it’s a product stuck in the middle of two worlds. It is neither something you want to play nor something you want to own. Not when mp3s are easier to play and dare I say it, vinyl is better to own. They will, like tape cassettes before them, probably only survive until they’re no longer required for in-car entertainment. Personally, I would love to go back to buying vinyl. Go back to flipping through racks of the stuff, something that CD’s aren’t good for.

Physically vinyl is the best thing to have, bands used to really bother with the artwork and it was a decent size to do the artwork justice, but these days you also need the digital version. So bands need to start chucking the digital version in free with the vinyl. Crucially that would get me back in record shops because I'm not entrusting the post office to deliver vinyl.

These record clubs though, where groups of music fans sit in silence with the lights dimmed listening to vinyl, not being allowed to talk or text. That sounds a bit weird. Is this really how these artistes intended you to listen to their music? No, of course not. Otherwise why would they bother taking their music out on tour and play it in front of a thousand or more noisy fans in a sweatbox of a venue. If you’re not at a gig, you’re jumping and singing your way around the house to it. Well I am. When no one else is in.

I cycle to the pool and remember how to swim. It’s busy though, four in my lane. Of which I’m the quickest and everybody else stops to let me past, which is nice. They usually just block me. I notice the two girls in my lane; although they let me past, have no intention of giving way to each other. So being competitive isn’t just a man thing, as L would have me believe.

We get a communication from Son saying he’s sorting out accommodation for next year... Err hang on, as in university accommodation for next October? This is not our Son. Dark forces or other people must be at work here but either way it’s great to have it sorted so early.

(Wednesday 19th January)

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