Coloured vinyl records are back! I wonder where my blue coloured Elvis Presley ‘Blue’ LP is now?
They think they invented them, these young ones! Actually I was just about to write about the rise in sales of new ‘old-style’ vinyl records in Australia- the big ones you play on a record deck – but when I asked my son for some statistics he said I was a day late as it was in the paper the previous day.
Humph! so it is ‘the latest thing’? I think not.
When we were first courting, around 1963, my husband-to-be and I used to go, holding hands, to the local record shops in Worksop, UK. There was even a record department in Eyres, the upmarket furniture shop.
We mainly bought 45’s to begin with. These were 45rpm (revolutions per minute) double-sided records with the A-track on top and the lesser-known B-track on the reverse. These were the size of a small side plate. We used to buy extra cardboard sleeves to keep the printed paper sleeve pristine, and special cleaning cloths to keep them dust and grease free.
Our records were treated with the reverence of religious artifacts! The ritual did prevent the scratches that immediately resulted in poor sound, or, worse still, skipping needles. The sapphire needles needed to be replaced regularly.
We bonded over our record collections. He was working,aged 16, and they had a Dansette portable record player in the latest leatherette maroon and cream fabric. The bees knees! (Remember none of this had been invented till then).
Our first major buy was from a little shop on Gateford Road, down near Victoria Square in Worksop. It was a 12″ LP (long player) by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. Wonderful rich sound and definitely not the usual rock n roll. We played it over and over. Both sides.
One of our first buys when we married in 1967 was a sterero speaker. Just one because we were buying a house.
I saw these Grundig teak-veneered narrow floor standing speakers in the shop window. Never seen anything like then! They were like modern sculptures. The sound was amazing because they had woofers and tweeters, two separate speakers mounted on a box behind the strips of teak wood. Pine for furniture was all the go, but teak was the ultimate in the late 1960’s.
One speaker cost £40. My weekly wage as a secretary was £11. Hire Purchase (HP) was the new way of purchasing by instalmentp I bought it for his birthday.
So we purchased a Garrard deck to play our records on, though new ones were few and far between, and it would only work with an amplifier. So we found a second hand Grundig amp with matching teak case and black glass fascia, tuned it so all the sound came out of our one very expensive speaker, and were thankful we didnt have neighbours through that wall.
We were 22, later to be known as Baby Boomers, by the time we bought the second speaker and were finally in proper stereo. It was like having the orchestra, or Tommy Garrett and his 50 Guitars, right in the room.
You never get that with a cd, as the young Millenials are discovering today. Like us they are purchasing record decks. I wonder if the wonderful pieces of furniture housing the stereo system will come back? Now called hifi of course (from high fidelity).
Our completed stereo system with both matching speakers cost more than our second-hand Rover 90 car, but gave us many happy hours of all kinds of music, especially the Beatles.
When we emigrated to Australia in 1972 the whole stereo system was shipped in the crate, wrapped in blankets. In the first weeks before we got a tv, we picked up the tv stations through the amplifier. We had already seen most of the programmes before we left. My husband worked night shift in his new job, so the music didnt get played as much.
Eventually the amplifier finally gave out, and was replaced by a beautiful metal state of the art version that somehow I acquired after the divorce.
Looking back is it synchronicity that today my son manages a store that specialises in music – and hifi?