Every once in a while I really really miss vinyl records. I miss that first whiff after tearing off the shrinkwrap, the plastic and the printing fumes and the record itself all mingling into a heady mixture of mystery and possibility. How does this 12" remix of "Careless Memories" compare to the album version? What cool thing is Siouxie Sioux going to say in the liner notes?
When I was about seven my great-grandmother bought a huge console stereo that had a turntable on one side and radio and 8-Track deck on the other. That thing was about ten feet long, plywood covered with woodgrain vinyl except for the speaker covers which were molded plastic. It's still my favorite piece of furniture ever. After Elvis died my other grandmother gave me a collection of his 8-Tracks and they lived in the little molded in slots on the left side; my Barry Mannilow, Leif Garrett and Shaun Cassidy records were kept in the bin next to the turntable (it was the 70's, don't hate). The grandmother I lived with decided one day to buy me a new 8-Track to fill the last open space and I'm not certain what posessed her but she came home with KISS: Double Platinum. You were wondering how my taste got eclectic in the first place? That's how.
The 8-Track died eventually but the turntable still worked just fine. I found a stack of my dad's old records in the basement closet and that's how I discovered Bill Cosby. I'd spend hours listening to the Noah bit, the introduction of Fat Albert and Old Weird Harold and the coin flip bit. Then I discovered Duran Duran and that was pretty much all I listened to for about four years: albums, 12" remixes, 45's. My most prized posession was the Power Station 12" "Some Like It Hot" picture disc, John Taylor's gorgeous face frozen in shiny black and white.
The stereo still lived in the basement as a kind of long shelf after it stopped working entirely. My grandmother sold it to someone who could fix it and love it again. I'm not certain what happened to all my records but they're long gone. Now I have an under the cabinet radio and CD player in the kitchen which is where I spend most of my time these days. While I like the pure sound filling that space I still miss the skips and pops and the static between songs. I still miss the smell. We're remodelling the basement right now as a family room, maybe I can find a console at a thrift store. In the meantime, I'm listening to this, which I first heard on my favorite piece of furniture ever.