One of the first ‘jobs’ I ever had was the task of alphabetising my Dad’s vinyl collection. Now I know that doesn’t sound like a particularly intensive job, but he has hundreds, possibly thousands of them. Some were relatively new but most were knocked about and pretty dusty and it was a pretty grubby task. But that was my first introduction to records.
Instead, I spent my youth building my own music collection. Cassettes at first, but then came CDs. My collection grew steadily, yet extensively and although it didn’t rival that of my Dad’s, I was definitely trying to give him a good run for his money!
Our house was always full of music, often with different rooms competing with each other – my love of Westlife wasn’t one that my Dad and I shared. But as a family we still always swapped CDs and made suggestions of bands and artists that we’d heard that others may like.
“Where words fail, music speaks.”
Hans Christian Andersen
Listening to music with my family, as well as on my own, helped to celebrate the great moments and soundtrack the darker ones. But when I moved out of the family home, somehow I forgot the joy of sitting down and listening to an album.
However, since moving into a new flat in London and getting my hands on a turntable, all that has changed. I’m buying music again – both new albums and rediscovering old ones. The sounds coming from my new records sound so much more…pure…that with a CD or digital download. Maybe because theres something vaguely romantic about the process of take a record out of its cover, putting it onto the turntable and slowly lowering the needle. Or maybe its just because the sound from a vinyl are more flawed in places – the odd bit of crackle or pop. Either way, my love of listening to music has returned and I’m very thankful for that.
Shopping for music is also a rediscovered pleasure. Flicking through records in shops and clicking furiously to try and get exclusive editions online. Shops like Banquet Records in Kingston is a particular favourite because it always me to do both, as well as having frequent in-store sessions with artists and bands that for the most part, play much bigger venues.
I was lucky to be able to turn to my Dad for advice on which turntable to buy, but if you’re not surrounded by someone like that then turning to a shop like Banquet Records is highly recommended. The one key piece of advice I was given is – don’t buy one of the trendy record players that come in a briefcase…they sound rubbish!