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Vinyl. Remember that?

recordWe brought in our millions, that black circle of etched embedded music. A vinyl album. Or EP. Or a single. We’d go to one of them, now nearly defunct, Record Shops, and look through rows and rows of Bands to find what we were looking for, alongside other doing the same thing.

We’d look beyond the norm – we’d for gatefold, pop-out packaging, rare limited editions, 12”  vinyl mega remixes of our favorite songs, colored vinyl, picture vinyl. We would buy a product. We would get it home, and clean off the dust, and listen to it crackling on the deck.

We would immerse ourselves in the content, be it lyric sheets, or the artwork of the cover. And cover artwork was a form in it’s own right. Be it Roger Dean and covers for Yes, Hypnosis and Pink Floyd, classic covers of Bat Out Of Hell, Iron Maiden or Guns ‘n’ Roses. Or classic iconic images like Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust”.  In its own way, buying an actual record was an experience, total engagement of the band through a real tangible product. It gave you a talking point. And much, much more.

And if you scratched the vinyl, you’d wipe it in soapy washing up liquid. Kinda fixed the problem. And if you stored it on it’s side, it could warp. So you’d stick a 2p coin on the label bit when playing to weight it down so the needle wouldn’t jump.

Tape cassettes.The poor man’s version of vinyl. Horrible things. They would warp out of control, so you’d end up with some drunken version of your favorite song. If the tape broke you could fix it together cleverly with some celloptape. And you could record over them. Time and time again. Till they warped that little bit too much. More drunken singing.  But they were a huge pain. Fast forwarding or rewinding in an attempt to find the right song on the tape.

And the CD. It took some time to make this work. Initially marketed as “You can eat your lunch of them and they’d still be perfect.” Erm. Not. A scratched CD jumps. As we all know.

Other attempts. Remember the mini -disc?

We’ve all used a range of different media to play our music. Now we don’t buy a physical product. We buy some code, and import it onto our computer, iPhone or MP3 player and listen that way. It’s is clean, no scratches, no jumping, no realism. Perfectly sanitized.

We download. Or not as the case may be – we listen online, through Spotify, through YouTube, streamed through our TV services or do what we all used to do – switch on the Radio. Through a Radio. Or online. Or via our TV, phone or which ever gadget is to hand.

Progress is great. I’m a user of all those modern ways of listening to music. But I can’t deny –  I miss vinyl. For so many reasons. Once purchased it was mine. All mine. For all it’s rubbish imperfections.