Almost fifty years ago my parents gifted me my first record player. It was a homemade affair, obviously put together by the hands of an enthusiast. It had been well loved, but the peeling sticky-backed plastic, and a temperamental lid didn’t bother me. I was blinded by prospect of being able to play my own music in my own bedroom whenever I wanted. A new kind of freedom. I knew nothing of stylus wear, and frankly couldn’t have cared less about dust accumulation or the taboo surrounding thumbprints across the grooves.
But gradually I caught on. Acquiring words of wisdom from better informed pals, regarding the care and conservation of the precious vinyl. In a few short years I would spin my way through a Dansette Trent (complete with a detachable that stored away cleverly, locked to the from of the main unit), a Steepletone, a Marconiphone, an ill advised foray into PrinzSound, Dixons own brand of hi-fi disappointment.
At last, in 1973, I parted with a fortune – well, £400+ (sale price) – on what was, undoubtedly the best set up I’ve ever owned: the Sony TC-161SD Cassette Deck, AKAI AA 8080 Tuner Amp Receiver, Linn Sondek LP12 turntable, and Leak 2060 speakers.
I’ve had various combinations of kit over the years, but nothing that compares with the above. I haven’t managed to escape the format merry-go-round either. Vinyl, cassette tape, CD, mp3, flac, etc, etc.
And what did Mags and I get for Christmas from our daughter and family? A Crosley Executive Deluxe record player, that’s what. And it’s great. New life breathed into what little vinyl I had stored away in a dark cupboard. I’ll be doing the rounds of the charity shops in the New Year. Who knows what I might turn up for the turntable?