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Friday, 22 October 2010

12 inches of pure pleasure

I'm (un)lucky enough to work near HMV on Oxford Street in London, so at least one lunch hour a week will be spent wandering aimlessly around the various floors of Europe's biggest branch. However, in recent months my attendance has thinned out due to my new found love of vinyl.

Purists amongst you will scoff at the fact that I have only recently got into this particular musical medium but to be fair, I grew up in the era of tapes and CDs, with vinyl well on the way out by the time I was old enough to buy stuff myself. Mind you, I probably should never have been allowed to buy things myself as my first purchase was East 17's Walthamstow album.

So for a recent significant birthday, Hot Chick got a record player. Since then, I have hemorrhaged a chunk of loose change in charity shops because ladies and gentlemen, vinyl is fucking amazing. On no other format can you walk into a shop and procure the Best of Louis Armstrong, Queen's News of the World and Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms album for less than £2. I get a wave of excitement every time I walk past a stinking old box of 12-inches, which despite sounding heroically homosexual taken out of context, is a thoroughly enjoyable feeling. Once you've waded through the plethora of Johnny Mathis, Cilla Black and various album releases from close-harmony singing Welsh males the variety on offer is devastatingly immense. Dire Straits' Alchemy live album is one of the best things I've listened to this year, Thin Lizzy's Johnny the Fox is pure brilliance (and a personal fave of Hot Chick) and Difficult to Cure from Rainbow includes Spotlight Kid, which is a moment of heavy-meets-prog wonder. And picking up Led Zeppelin and Blue Öyster Cult's debut albums for next to nothing? Don't mind if I do.

Of course the other good thing about buying vinyl is that music you wouldn't purchase becomes infinitely more appealing - virtually everything is worth a 50p investment, with the exception of anything by Ocean Colour Scene, 3OH!3 or Simply Red. I picked up Jim Reeves Good 'N' Country, Holst's The Planet Suit and something called It's Party Time, which features party classics such as Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner and has an amazing photo of old women dancing on the front.

That's the other point; the artwork is fucking brilliant. ELO's Out of the Blue gatefold can only be the result of extensive narcotic use and as for 1984 by the mighty Van Halen? Seminal.

Plus, a big chunk of the money you give to charity shops goes, unsurprisingly, to charity, which makes you feel a whole lot better about buying yet more music to clutter up your house. Luckily, the wife is as much of a music junky as I, otherwise I'd end up on the street with nothing but The Best of Blondie as a pillow.

Bye for now gangsters

1 comment:

Rhi said...

I know where you work madman. You have to walk past a minimum of two of the best vinyl shops in London to get to HMV. Although, I was glad to see the HMV on Oxford street now has a dedicated speed metal section, and an old school Thrash section along with a lot of promo for the new Dimmu whatsisface album. Peace out.