back to black.

After a 20 year hiatus, I’ve invested in a new needle and some cleaning fluid, and started buying vinyl again. The first thing you notice is the sky-high price — around £20 for a new album, as opposed to £9 for a CD or £7 for a download. But you forget how much richer and more satisfying the whole experience is.

The vast expanse and beauty of the sleeve; the ritual of undressing the black stuff and placing it in the turntable; the indulgence of listening to a whole side as opposed to the usual fickle flicking from song to song. You actually listen to the music rather than consume it. You give it more attention, approach it with far more generosity of spirit.And I’m lucky that there’s a half decent Oxfam Books and Music store near me. Last week, seemingly waiting for me, were two of my favourite-ever albums — Stevie Wonder’s ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ and ‘Innervisions’. I’ve never owned them on vinyl before, as I didn’t have much opportunity or cash to buy records when I was at school. Written discreetly in biro inside the gatefold of ‘Innervisions’ is a date — ‘3 March 1975’. There’s something terribly touching to know that this physical artefact meant something to someone out there, that there’s a story attached to it. It’s been very well looked after, I can tell you that much. Have a think about that next time you download 89p’s worth of soulless music data from iTunes.

Above: Wonderwall... what goes around comes around

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