Friday, November 06, 2009

Middle-Aged Nostalgia (With Technical Notes for Younger Readers)

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Loud and proud. I like Vinyl. I like big round black records that have been loved and played and had joints rolled on them, and lines snorted off them, and god knows what else done with them - I never thought of this before but it strikes me as amazing that no matter how utterly, incredibly gourdtwistingly stoned we got in the seventies we could always perform the complex task of changing records, and putting them back in their sleeves so they didn't get mashed up, without noticing we were doing it.
A lot of my misspent youth was spent sitting around playing music into the early hours of the morning getting stoned and talking about - whatever it was we talked about until the early hours of the morning. No idea any more. Whatever it was it was probably deadly urgent and earnest . Thatcher. The Miners. Chile. Freeing Nelson Mandela. Was the Anti-Nazi League really just a Militant front and, even if it was, should we still join? Should we go to Greenham Common? Yeah, I know I'm a bloke ... but ... okay, you go to Greenham Common, I'll stay here and ... erm ... stay in bed for the day?
Singles have been issued on various formats, including 7-inch (18-cm), 10-inch (25-cm) and 12-inch (30-cm) vinyl discs (usually playing at 45 rpm); 10-inch (25-cm) shellac discs (playing at 78 rpm) The most common form of the vinyl single is the 45 or 7 inch, the names are derived from its play speed, 45 rpm and the standard diameter 7″ (18 cm).
Singles were more fun than LPs. LPs had to be changed (or turned over) every 20 minutes or so - none of this putting your 28 TByte iPod Nano on shuffle and never listen to the same track twice till the battery runs down nonsense. Singles were hard work. Two or three minutes to choose something to be played next that would carry on the theme of whatever was playing at the moment. I don't know if this was universal, but there always seemed to be an incredibly complex set of unspoken rules about the rightness and wrongness of what could or should not be played. I never did understand all of them but rigorously enforced them all the same. The important thing though was that it was a concious effort to put on music. The decision had to be made, the record selected. The old record removed and the new one placed on the turntable, the correct speed selected,
Gramophone discs were manufactured with a range of playback speeds(from 16pm to 78rpm)
and the needle whacked back on the wax - without a horrible skidding screech or crash - before the mood has evaporated - slip the previous record back into its sleeve, and move aside as someone else says "Hey! I know what I want to listen to next!" and starts riffling through the records. It was a skilled job being a wastrel in the seventies. Actually I don't think we got as stoned as we thought we did. We didn't have time. Too busy changing records and making munchies.

Mind you, I do remember waking up on the kitchen floor one morning and listening to side one of Elvis Costello's Armed Forces repeating on the Dansette several times before I managed to summons up the energy to switch it off. It must have been on all night. Our neighbours must have really loved us.

This Very Model!

So, Vinyl, love the stuff. It's so cheap too. Charity shops round here are selling LPs off four or five for a quid. Often I buy them just for the cover art - or lack of it. There have been some seriously shit things done on the front of LP covers. I live in hope of finding something as compulsively horrible as this one which lurks somewhere deep in the depths of

1 comment:

LpCoverLover said...

Well played Junk Monkey!

Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
Please take care
in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

(this copyright notice stolen from

eXTReMe Tracker