Nothing gives me more joy than popping a disc on the record player. Slipping the vinyl out of its sleeve, blowing the dust off, and gingerly placing the needle on the thick groove at the edge.
What comes next is the lovely scratch of anticipation, then––BOOM––instant time machine.
When I was a kid, records were my pride and joy. I would actually carry around a fave album at school with my schoolbooks like it was a baby. I remember Led Zeppelin 2 actually having the welt of my handprint on it.
Today, at the record show, that history was for sale. Boxes and boxes of albums, some carefully labelled alphabetically and others tossed randomly in a crate. People were pouring through them searching for their own musical treasures of the record player age.
I was looking for my own memories. Specifically, for good copies of albums I already had that were scratched beyond recognition. And oh, the treasures I found. First was an album called Nucleus. Mine had been played and played and played until its only use was as a serving tray. And I found it. Nucleus. Perfect condition. Then I found The Eagles Long Run, perfect condition. Then I found a Beach Boys Christmas Album and a very rare Beatles album with a cover I have never seen in my life. Snapped them up! The cold hard cash we were carrying was gone in fifteen minutes. There were no bank machines and we were empty. Spent, literally. As we were strolling out the door I was grinning like a gargoyle clutching my albums, feeling all Grade 11.
Suddenly something caught my eye. Led Zeppelin 2. A beam of light shot from the heavens and pointed me right to it. Original packaging, NEVER BEEN OPENED. Heart pounding, I approached gingerly. And I was playing it so cool. LIES. Not cool at all. Covetous. Approaching maniacal. Picked it up and read the price. $60.00. Fair price for a masterpiece, UNLESS YOU DON’T HAVE THE DOUGH ON YOU. So we left and realized that we forgot to get the seller’s card.
So please, send a prayer to the rock and roll gods to give me a chance at that album again. That pristine perfect platter of my past. I will NOT fail the next time. I will search and I will find it. But till then, I will “ramble on, and now’s the time, the time is now to sing my song.” And I will. It will be a scratchy duet. But when I get a good clean copy, I will dance the dance of the air guitar and it will be sweet! “Leaves are falling all around, time I was on my way-ay!”
Barbara: Mmmmm, real records. Now that triggers a surge of nostalgia in me like almost nothing else. When I was growing up, my dad worked in the record industry and I got most of my LPs for free. Yes, we had the requisite photos hanging on our walls of him posing with industry luminaries: The BeeGees, John Mellencamp, The Village People (shut up!). Music was always playing in our house, whether it was classical, opera, rock, or the soundtrack from the latest hot new movie musical Grease.
So buying my first album with my very own hard-earned money was definitely a rite of passage that I came to much later than most teens. But I remember it well: The Cars by The Cars. Oh my. Sex in music. I could’ve listened to it all day. And, yes, the scratchy sound, the lack of crisp clarity were all part of the aural charm.
Unlike you, Deb, I don’t have a player hooked up anymore, but Phil and I have talked about setting one up. Your post just makes that urge that much stronger. I love my CDs (and legally paid for downloads), but there is something about that classic, making-out-in-dark-basements vibe of the good ‘ol record that beckons.