Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Old Vinyl

When we bought the house in Normandy we got it lock, stock and barrel, i.e. not only the house itself but also everything from large furniture down to spare light bulbs and bottle openers. Included was a hi-fi system with an old Aiwa record player. For young people, that is a stone-age device for reproducing sound, ok? In my parents' days records that rotated at 78 turns per minute was all the rave. But they were quite fragile and broke easily when dropped on the floor. So about half a century ago the Vinyl, made from some oil-based substance, was invented. These modern discs were more flexible and less fragile. However they were easily scratched and were worn down slowly but steadily and sounded in the end like you were frying bacon, but without the enticing smell. They also rotated more slowly than the old 'stone biccies', as we say in Swedish, at 33, or more exactly, at 33 1/3 turns per minute.

When I left Sweden in 1987 I also left behind my rather large record collection, of which my son now is the custodian. So in France we now had a record player but no records to play on it. Pas de
, we went to a second hand shop in Mayenne and found some old records, mostly classical, but also Supertramp's 'Breakfast in America', which the French local radio stations still love to play. They seem to play only music they don't have to pay for, and in doing so, give the impression they are a couple of decades behind in musical taste. Not a day goes by without Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' for instance. But that's another issue.

For my grand-daughter's future understanding of history (sounds rather grand and pompous, but never mind) I decided to document the bygone days of the Vinyl. I took some snaps and a video of one of Mozart's most famous piano pieces, 'Rondo Alla Turca', being played, to immortalise this ancient technology.

This is the record sleeve demonstrating, in my opinion, an astonishing lack of taste in design.

This is the record itself with some vital information about the recording.

This is the so called stylus, through which the sound is miraculously transferred ultimately to the speakers.

Here is the video to prove it actually does work. Press the button and enjoy!


Eric Valentine said...

I remember those days Swen, I used to have many records at those times of my life. :)

Lynda said...

Once, when the now 20 year old daughter was about 14, we were staying with the in-laws in Deutschland - said daughter came downstairs from scratching around in her father's childhood bedroom and asked "What are those big black CD's you have up there?"

Needless to say, we had a fabulous evening playing all his record collection from the 70's... father-in-law still has a record player and still uses it everyday.

I miss the wonder of buying a new album and all that was associated with it - the cover artwork - singing along with the printed lyrics - buffing off the dust with a soft cloth - changing the stylus.