When I first got married almost 15 years ago, my best man Kevin gifted us a record player as our wedding present. At the time, I thought it was nice but not quite my interest. See I didn't grow up buying vinyl or appreciating vinyl. I grew up in the late 80s where most of my early music purchases were on cassette tape. It was cheaper than CDs and readily available at all the music stores. I had stacks and stacks of tapes and my favorites were kept in this brown fake leather cassette briefcase that I'd take with me if I was in the mood for a variety of music. Or I'd just make a mix and pop it into my "walkman" (in parenthesis because I didn't actually own a SONY walkman. I was too cheap for that) and toil around my suburban streets probably smoking cigarettes angsting. My friends bands would occasionally record and publish on 45s but even this didn't get me into records. I was avoiding it or maybe, just maybe, it wasn't my time.
It was winter of 2017 that for some reason I got the itch to try out that record player. I had bought Sharon Jones (RIP) and the Dap Kings Christmas record for my sister in law that past christmas and wondered if that old record player Kevin got us would still work. When I found it, it was wedged in a cabinet collecting dust. I connected the wires to my little stereo and to my amazement it worked! That February my wife Emily got me what I call my first true record, a Red Hot Chili Peppers Greatest Hits album and since then, I've been off to the races.
I started buying vinyl left and right. My kids thought I had some sort of subscription from Amazon to send me new records every week. I would find bands or albums and just imagine what it would sound and look like to hear that music coming through the grooves of a record. The next year I upgraded my record player to a $300 audio technica. Now I know you can't really buy happiness. I also have had more than my fair share of buyers remorse when buying something, especially something expensive. But that record player has been pure joy for me and one of the best purchases I've ever made.
I know people talk about warmth when it comes to records but I think it is more than just sound. Its the dropping of the needle and watching the platter spin around. It's more than just listening to sound waves because we do that all the time now with our phones or radios. It's an experience albeit small. It's also strangely intimate as you have to be delicate putting the needle down, taking it off, putting the record away properly. Listening to a record is an act, as in action, and I have quickly grown to love that action.
It's weird when you get into something you never thought you'd get into. I never thought I'd be into making picture books. I never thought I'd want to grow my hair out (maybe I'll let that story slip at a later date). And I never thought I'd become a vinyl Junkie. But, here I am. Waiting for that next fix.