For the Record (or How a £5 Record Player Made Me Love Music Again)

There was a time when I didn’t really listen to much music – it happened a while ago when I gave away all my CDs and pretty much only occasionally stuck on Spotify or YouTube to listen to whatever I fancied playing.  If I wanted entertaining, I’d stick on a video game or a film.

That was until I bought a cheap, second hand record player… and I haven’t looked back since.

I now own a suitably eclectic collection of vinyl – all 12″ originals, mostly purchased from local charity shops or eBay (when the mood takes me).  I’m a bit of a nervous purchaser when it comes to charity shops – you get what you pay for, but mostly I’ve been onto winners (especially when I changed to my second, more forgiving bargain record player).

Since then, I’ve gone back to CDs, too.  In a time of digital downloads, I’m still old fashioned and like owned a physical something – DVDs, BluRays, vinyl and CDs.  I’m still more likely to purchase a physical copy of a video game, although that’s mainly a cost thing.

It’s not unusual for me to pick up a few new discs a week, stuff that catches my eye or that I want to re-experience – film soundtracks are a particular thing that I enjoy and random compilations of stuff I remember from enjoying.  When you’re paying a quid for the Best of Bowie on CD, or discovering stuff you wouldn’t normally listen to because it’s cheap – I have far too many Carpenters LPs – it’s hard not to happy.

I’m now on my third record player, not because the first two failed (although the second, a Bush MTT1, had recently taken to being temperametal at spinning the turntable, but because of research.  Thanks to a positive review in What HiFi, I purchased the Audio Technica LP60 USB (the USB aspect is something I won’t be using).

It baffled me, going into my local HMV and seeing the “audiophile” release of classic stuff that I’ve already acquired for less than a couple of quid – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Thriller and Queen’s Greatest Hits, collectively, cost me under a five, yet I’d probably be spending ten times that to buy them new, on vinyl!

I listen to stuff, randomly, throughout the week.  It’s replaced the moving wallpaper that is my television and I’m happier for it.  There’s a joy to listening to stuff I haven’t heard in years and loved, be it the works of David Bowie, the soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire. An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer, The Muppet Show or a rather wonderful collection by Andy Williams that includes a heartrending rendition of Solitaire (which I also own by The Carpenters).

Very much like my approach to film, I enjoy so much that it’s hard to pin down what I like, but a £5 record player reignited my love of music and long may it continue.


The Quest for Cheap Music Continues

Okay, so I’m onto my second record player and it’s another charity shop bargain… well, I think it is, considering it sounds a ton better than the first deck I bought and cost me less than a five.

0Daft things like the plastic lid stays up of its own accord, so I’m no longer juggling a disc, a lid and Lord know else just to protect my inexpensive, but still cherished (mostly) vinyl.  The needle lowers slowly on the vinyl, thanks to a little lever.  It’s like magic.

Aside from that, it really does sound clearer than the Goodman’s I was clearly slumming it with (but without, wouldn’t have started the madness that has ensued).

I now have far too many records – I’m not talking hundreds, that’d be silly and I wouldn’t have any where to put them all.  I’ve got “a collection”, though, and a random one at that.

I’ve been to a record fair in Hull and bought three, but most of them have come from local charity shops and have been things that have… caught my eye.

0-1Amongst the purchases have been The Best of David Bowie (covering 1969 to 1979), Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.  Sure, none of them are pristine, but the most expensive (Bowie) was a fiver and the three came to £7.50.  Can’t argue with that.


Through vinyl, and away from streaming media, I’m rediscovering a love of music, especially stuff I grew up with and discovered at a later date.  I’ve got a wishlist of LPs I want, and there’s bound to be more coming my way as I trawl through charity shops, second hand record dealers, record fairs and everyone’s favourite auction site.