Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Well folks, after spending many years going nuts at this time of year (public tax practice, March 15 deadline) I realized today that I'm glad to be out of that particular rat race. So, I thought I'd celebrate with a track I've been meaning to post for ages and a general longwinded ramble about whats being going on chez MFL lately.

My vinyl adventures continue apace. I'll be the first to admit I'm much more familiar with the British music scene back in the '80's, so it was probably inevitable that combing through dusty US vinyl racks would lead me to want to discover more about what was going on and which American-based bands were worth checking out and discovering for the first time.

I've mentioned the New Wave Outpost before, but this is an area where the research is really outstanding. I've been using this as my first reference point. I've also been thumbing voraciously through my copy of The New Music Record And Tape Guide. This was the UK edition of the famed Trouser Press publications. In fact, I have a neat story about this. The book was published in 1987, and I must have borrowed it from the local library at least a dozen times, even though most of the names meant nothing to me, but I did enjoy reading the often scathing (and always pithy) reviews. (Oh, and don't forget you can read all of them at - Ira Robbins, a toast to you, sir!)

I didn't think about the book again until I was based in the US, and returning home for a brief visit. For no real reason at all, I went back to the library, just to see if some of the old books I remembered leafing through were still there. I was sad to see that TNMRATG had been withdrawn from the library shelves. Then just as I was leaving, I happened to glance at the little shelf by the checkout desk where they kept a handful of old books they sold to the public, and there it was! I honestly believe that particular book and I were destined for each other. I think I paid a pound for it.

If all goes to plan, I'll be buying my turntable next Sunday. Good thing too. At the latest count, I now have 64 LP's and 12" Singles and about 20 7" Singles, most of which are rare, obscure and ready for rediscovery!!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a dramatic prediction. I've watched the CD aisles at Best Buy and Borders shrinking like crazy. The death of the packaged CD release is, I believe, inevitable. As a long time CD lover myself, I've seen my own passion eroded over time - chiefly due to the convenience and availability of digital downloads and due also to the cheapening of the CD as a medium. Or is my desk the only one that has stacks of CD-Rs, DVD-R's and other shiny discs displayed with all the reverence of a beer coaster?

Vinyl offers a viable, and exciting, alternative. I'm not the only one that thinks so. Check out this news report. There's something so tangible about holding these pieces of wax in your hands. Right now, vinyl prices are ridiculously low. But, in the future? Hey, I went into Best Buy yesterday and beamed at the sight of 180 gram record packages on the shelves. When music is free, or at least intangible, what is there left to own? And, a lesson that hopefully some of our email/ipod/wireless/mp3 youngsters will one day understand is this: it is in our own nature as human beings to feel ownership of the things that come to define the fabric of our lives. Or, to quote King Lear - "grant no more than nature needs, man's life is as cheap as beasts".

The Tempest - Lazy Sunday


Anonymous said...

Cool story! I enjoyed reading that!

True, I miss vinyl!!

Tessa said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


fiftypercent said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ruth. I really like hearing from people who read along, so don't be shy!!

EuropeCrazy said...

A very interesting post. I just feel that the 'mp3 generation' don't seem to value music in the same way that those of us 'of a certain age' seem to do.

I haven't visited your blog for a while but I'll definitely be in touch more often from now on.

Laura :)