Cool your jets. Not THAT kind of vinyl. Trust me, squeezing this body into anything not stretchy or cotton would be a huge mistake, at least without some tough foundation garments.
No, this is something that’s been coming for a while. I love my music, so much that I often watch TV shows or movies just to have the soundtrack in the background of my daily activities. (Reminder to self: burn the digital collection to disc soon, idiot!) My parents had a great sound system when I was growing up, and many LPs that I enjoyed playing and lip-synching to, especially with an audience. Or without, because it was just fun.
But by the time I was old enough to have my own record player, LPs were on their way out, cassette tapes were wavering, and CDs were picking up steam. As a teenager I really wanted the best of all worlds, but at that time it was expensive to have a stereo that played all three. My loving and well-meaning parents gave me a great shelf-size system that played LPs and cassettes, but my interest was waning in favour of the new-fangled and pricey CDs in their shiny jewel cases. The following year I received my first CD player, and my records and record player quickly gathered dust.
After a while, I started noticing that I was missing something. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I enjoyed my CDs, got pissed off when a whole book of them was stolen from my husband’s then-workplace in the late 1990s — after all, they were an investment of time and consideration, each disc and its compilation of songs loaded with memories — and as soon as I could start collecting digital singles, I was all over that. I love being able to get the songs I like at the touch of the button.
Still, something was off.
I watched movies like High Fidelity and it occurred to me that I really had enjoyed the look and feel of flat records. I’d always gotten a kick out of the way the needle moved gently across the player and settled into its spot, the little whisper of white noise and quiet flicks and snips of dust that I’d failed to brush away. But going back to vinyl seemed silly and pointless. After all, my music was all on my computer at that point. Why bother getting records when I already have what I want?
It wasn’t until my husband bought the property next door to us, and discovered a stash of records, that I knew I wanted to listen to LPs again. 35s. 45s. Give them to me!
Sadly, the record player he found with them was broken. And I wasn’t able to hook up the next one I located at a yard sale. So for months, our new record collection sat unplayed and forlorn, gathering dust. I needed shelf space for board games so I relocated them to a trunk and felt profoundly guilty, shutting them away in the dark.
Then Christmas rolled around and I noticed record players appearing in flyers. I went into a local electronics store that had just opened, and voila! There they were! Two record players, one with a sleek futuristic design and a clear plastic lid that could transfer record music to MP3 files, and the other a retro wooden look with cassette deck and CD burner, plus Bluetooth. (Actually, I think they both had Bluetooth . . .) I took a picture of both, noting that each was on sale, and texted my ever-loving, long-suffering spouse to see what he thought. He ended up giving me the latter as a gift, and I am loving it.
Right now, I’m listening to a slightly-scratched REO Speedwagon record. I have to rearrange our little living room again to accommodate our growing collection, one more reason to sell or give away our cumbersome TV cabinet and that massive antique glass cabinet sitting on the supremely ugly vintage dresser it came with as a stand, our mismatched filing cabinets and too-small computer desk (all #firstworldproblems, I know), in favour of building wall shelves that run the perimeter of the room and utilize all of the vertical storage space we have. This is especially important if we do end up adopting a bearded dragon currently in need of a new home . . .
I can see how it will be laid out: four or five rows of wide brown shelves, maybe a row of cabinets underneath for concealed storage (or just plain boxes that are covered with cushions for a cozy look, or against which large framed pictures rest), the middle spaced adequately to fit our TV against the wall, with rows of my books sectioned by my beloved’s collection of antique knickknacks. One shelf or row of boxes houses the bearded dragon’s tank, while another conveniently-located shelf is double-width to accommodate a properly-working filing cabinet and our desk chair, serving both as shelf and computer desk. And, of course, filling another side of the shelves, our record collection next to the stereo. I can see it all, my friends. I want to do this. I need to do this. In the summer, I went to the length of pricing out the planks and looking at DIY designs, but I lacked both the courage and the funds to make it happen. Now it’s midwinter, the weather is no longer suitable for moving large pieces of furniture outside to get them out of the way, and still, all I want to do is redecorate.
After all, how hard could it be, really? Just pack away all the knickknacks and board games, framed photos . . . measure twice and order the pieces (knowing that our walls are crooked and the shelves will have to be mightily reinforced to compensate) . . . Move the current furnishings away from the workspace, likely into the middle of the room . . .
I promise you, if I do this, I will document and blog the process for your enjoyment. Feel free to point and laugh. But wouldn’t it be amazing if I could have this done by spring? Such transformation, brought about all by the gift of a record player, sparked by the finding of a record collection, connecting to memories of a childhood listening to LPs . . .