In which G.M. Norton sets the record straight as he leads you along the path of musical righteousness.
Incredible as it may seem, there are people growing up who don’t have the foggiest idea what a vinyl record is. Luckily, my formative years were spent listening to my parents’ vinyl records with the sound of The Beatles filling the family home.
|Not to be confused with the Spinning Jenny|
For roughly 100 years, vinyl records were the musical format of choice for any self-respecting fellow, until CDs and these new fangled MP3s reared their ugly heads. Downloading music is enough to send a shiver down the spine of any thoroughbred chap.
Before evolving into the gentleman that I am today, I amassed hundreds of CDs and could regularly be found purveying the aisles in forgotten establishments such as Andy’s Records and Our Price. As music downloads started to replace the CD format, I began to lose faith with the soulless concept being bandied about and longed for a return to those happy memories of flipping through huge piles of old records and discovering ‘new’ music for my ever-eager ears. So I made the decision to turn to vinyl.
|The Rolls Royce of record players - not too shabby looking for 45 years old|
Getting the records wasn’t a problem with the great number of charity shops up and down Britain’s high street and those curious shopping experiences where people sell things out of their motorcars. What I was in desperate need of was a playing device.
In my earnest search for a suitable record playing contraption, I was naturally drawn to the traditional wind-up gramophone with the protruding brass horn. Baulking at the cost, I mentally crossed that off my list and explored other options, taking me from a turntable with separate amplifier and speakers to the iconic 1960s Dansette.
It was during this search that I discovered what would become my most treasured possession – a 1968 Bush SRP51. Described by more knowledgeable fellows than me as the ‘Rolls Royce of record players’, it was love at first sight. For a machine that is nearly 45 years old, it still looks and sounds fiendishly good. Made during the height of the space age between 1968 to 1970, it’s a smashing example of the design and style from this period. As a 60s obsessive, it makes me tickled pink to own something from this era.
|Bush SRP51 operating instructions - a first edition, surely|
I’ll never forget the first song I played on it – The Animals’ haunting version of The House of the Rising Sun. A song that I had heard countless times seemed richer and deeper than I had ever heard before. It was as if I was hearing it for the first time.
There is a ceremony and delicious expectation that comes from simply dropping the needle on a record. Conjuring the illicit reverence of a pagan ritual, you can’t help but appreciate the sacrament of handing the record, poring over the huge album cover artwork and reading the liner notes and lyrics. You could say that vinyl makes the world stop spinning. Jolly more rewarding that the click of a mouse or the flick of a finger on a screen.
|One doesn't get this visual plethora with new fangled MP3s|
As I welcome Otis Redding into my home again this evening, I will raise a glass to Thomas Edison in gratitude for his most life-changing invention. If only I could light a gas lamp too. Blasted light bulbs.
Protagonist of ‘Norton of Morton’
Protagonist of ‘Norton of Morton’