|You know he has a bong inside that jacket.|
Some of those records haven't been played in over 40 years. Some longer. Not really knowing the condition of the vinyl, it made sense to play them volume up so I can catch any skips as they transfer. I wasn't prepared for just how emotionally draining it would be! I also wasn't prepared for just how downright strange my musical tastes have been over the years. I'm spared a good chunk of the 80s and beyond as I switched to buying tapes and CDs to play in the car, but I'm sure those were equally bizarre. I know they say you can judge a person by their books and record collection but please...don't?
Privacy in the household I grew up in was rare-you couldn't even expect to go to the toilet uninterrupted. I did find that they tended to leave me the hell alone when I was in my room playing records. Whether this was due to my taste in music being so offensive they kept a distance, or because they were able to know exactly where I was, and what I was doing, isn't clear, but unless someone needed something, I was generally left to enjoy music alone. The incentive to buy records was strong. If I was needed they'd just scream up the stairs loudly enough to be heard over the music. Eventually our neighbours got sick of that, and encouraged us to get a second telephone line so I could be screamed at over the phone. I suppose it was a little better.
|"Kids, go upstairs so I can yell at you over the line"|
How I wish it were possible to go back in time and tell my younger self to take better care of her vinyl. Hardly alone in that, I suppose but had I known 40+ years on I'd be transferring recordings, I might have, at the very least kept them in the sleeves rather than scattered across the pink shag carpet of my room. Occasionally I'd change the needle on the phonograph, but I doubt I ever properly cleaned anything. Younger self, you have a lot to answer for.
More than the records themselves, what excites me going through the boxes is finding receipts and price tags from now defunct record stores. Wax Trax!, 2nd Hand Tunes, Hep Cat Records- all the places my youth (and money) were spent. The best record store I can no longer remember the name of, was down the street from my elementary school. Honestly, it was more a head shop that sold records than a proper record store, but they had great stuff you just couldn't get otherwise.
When I was about I dunno, 11 or so, I was asked what I wanted for my birthday. I probably just wanted to be left alone, or at least not be trapped in conversation with the adult child that called herself my parent, so I told her I wanted a Frank Zappa record. I don't know why. I certainly didn't care for anything he'd done up to that point (Help, I'm a Rock?!) but that's what I told her, and after unsuccessfully trying to buy a Frank Zappa record at Montgomery Wards, she ended up at the head shop down the street from my school. In hindsight, it is kind of funny that there was a head shop down the street from an elementary school but eh, it was the 70s.
Since I'd already splashed out on the phone, I went ahead and bought some decent Bluetooth headphones. I loathe ear buds, and the ones that came with the phone were downright painful. In some ways it is like hearing these old records for the first time. I used to laugh when friends would insist some recordings were better with headphones, but perhaps they were right. I'm sure by the end of the year what's left of my hearing will be destroyed😀 but it will totally be worth it. I still don't want to listen to Dark Side of the Moon though. Sorry.
So many of these records evoke time and place in my life in a similar way to perfume. I thought it might be interesting to combine the two and see if I can come up with some interesting writing freed from the constraints of a review. Maybe not, but I trust readers will let me know if I've miscalculated the comic value of
Alright kids, let's rock and roll. I'll see you on the flip side.