Tom Lehrer

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.

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