Friday, April 13, 2012

Records of My Life

The first record I ever bought as a teenager was Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, because I had heard it on the radio in our only-classical-music household, and loved it.

At home, the non-classics in our collection consisted of one Val Doonican record, Rolf Harris's Sun Arise and The World of British Comedy.

Nothing has ever left this house, so I still had them all. Until two days ago.

Over the years, many additions were made to our collection, in a rather haphazard way. Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits. Beatles records. Kate Bush. Grieg's Peer Gynt, given to me by a friend as a very welcome gift because I looked after him when he'd done his back in. And then there were others which just - - - well - - appeared, with no trace as to how. Pope John Paul II's Visit to Ireland. Nat King Cole.

Firstly we used to play them on the Dansette record player, which, thrillingly, could play a whole pile of records, if you placed them carefully one on top of the other.

Then we had an Eighties thing called a "stack" which had speakers and a radio as well as a record player. Wonderful (except, in a sinister prequel to my current inability with all things electronic, I found it hard to work all its bits).

But then, when we moved into this house in 1999, our stack didn't come with us, because it had stopped working properly.

And all our records, eventually, came out of their vinyl-record-keeping containers and ended up in a big cardboard box in the junk room.

And there was no point in keeping them, was there? Nothing to play them on - - hadn't looked at them for over a decade - - so the rational decision was - - they had to go.

So we Freecyled them. In case you don't know, you can post unwanted items on Freecycle and people who do want them turn up and collect them. As happened with our piano recently.

A very pleasant young man came to look at our boxful of records and seemed extremely pleased when we said he didn't have to choose, he could take the lot and choose later.

I kept three, just for the memories. Ian McKellen in Marlowe's Edward II, which was a big step on the road to fame for him, and on the road to love of theatre for me. Betjeman's Banana Blush - - some of his poems set to music - - just because I picked it up and could instantly remember everything about the day that I was given it. And finally, this:

In 1974, when the excellent film came out, we used the Scott Joplin music for our drama group's adaptation of Pinocchio. When I bought the record several of us, including my friend David, danced to the music until the early hours in the room where I'm typing this now.

Looking at my handwriting on the record sleeve, from back then when I was eighteen, I notice it hasn't changed at all. This must mean something but I'm not sure what!

So now our vinyl collection is down to three records, and that's the way it's going to stay. Giving the rest away was the right decision, I know. It's just that I feel really sad about it.


Anonymous Milo said...

"The first record I ever bought as a teenager was Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, because I had heard it on the radio in our only-classical-music household, and loved it."

You, dear, are what I refer to as 'high-brow' :))

My first ever album, bought in 1986 (aged 10), was True blue by Madonna. My brother's first album was by Michael Jackson, I seem to recall.

8:39 pm  
Blogger Risa said...

I shed a tear reading that and managed to get completely nostalgic. We have all our vinyls even though we have nothing to play them on. We still love the feel of them and the artwork.

I don't think I will ever get nostalgic about a c.d. x

8:46 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

You could have had the vinyl transferred to CD so that you could have listened to it all in your Harrogate nursing home. I suspect you may regret this rashness but at least others will be listening - won't they?

10:35 pm  
Blogger Jan Blawat said...

My husband - now ex - has never been able to part with his collections of reel-to-reel, 8 track, cassette, and vinyl music. It can become an addiction. In the 20 years we were married he never listened to any of the above, though, because the players were all broken. He just listened to the radio. Never made sense to me for the house to be a shrine to useless crap.

8:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

erm.. I sincerely hope you meant to link to Freegle, Daphne - is the UK based reuse group - the other lot are US based. Leeds Freegle is run by my colleague Ollie Clark, one of the national Freegle reps.

10:28 pm  

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