Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Hipster Blog I wanted to Do But Did Not

Purple vinyl.  New Order, Singularity 12"

It was time for a new toy.  I'd been collecting vinyl for the past two years without the ability to listen to it.  One day I'd get a turntable and that day was yesterday.  Easy enough.

I did some research online.  Visited a Best Buy.  Finally Googled "where to purchase a turntable in Des Moines."  BINGO!  Guitar Center!  Now is that not the guitar store next to Barr Bicycle?  Right off the trail on my way home.  Damn, that's easy-peasy!  I'll ride right over there after work!

I had the Red Phoenix with a rear rack sans panniers.  But I had two bungie cords.  No problem.  I'd be some damn hip.  Think about it.  Hip to have vinyl and a turntable.  Ultra-hip to ferry said turntable home on a bicycle.  The only thing more hip would to have used my cycloscross single speed but conditions were icy and snow covered in spots so the hybrid with studded tires was the bike of the day.  That's ok.  Guess it would be more Viking* than hip.  Dashing through the snow to plunder Guitar Center of a turntable and rushing home to put on New Order first.

Walking in a clerk asked me if I needed help.  Yes indeedy, one turntable, please!  "We don't sell them."

WHAT?!?!?  I just looked it up online, said in stock.

"You must be looking for Guitar Center which is on University Ave a few miles away.  the is Professional Music Center."

My bad, exit now.

What it would have looked like bringing the record player home on the Red Phoenix.  Perhaps the car was the way to go.

Just as well.  Probably needed a longer bungie cord since one is kinda short.  Also could use a trash liner to keep the turntable dry.  Damn.  Tomorrow....

Got home and College Boy was home.  IDEA!!  "Say, Son, could you drive me to Guitar Center so I could purchase a turntable?"  This cost me dinner and drinks for him and his mother and myself.  Fair price.  It saved what I can a urban commercial bicycling hazard--riding through parking lots, sidewalks and traffic lights in a place developed for cars only.  But it saved my Friday and the possibility that the turntable would get damaged on the way home.

So it was not hip.  But it was nice to make the purchase at a guitar store instead of a big box store.  If only I could have also taken home a Gibson Jaguar like Johnny Marr's.

The first to play, New Order Singles, remastered 8 record boxset and on 180 gram vinyl.  Never played before, just waiting for this moment.  Ceremony was the first track, fitting since it was their first single.  4 to 5 tracks per side in order of release, each side representing a specific wonderful era of their career.  No wording on the center, need to keep each record in its proper sleeve
What the heck you get?  Audio-Technica AT-LP60.  HQ in Japan, made in China.  I opted not to get the model with USB port figuring that I could plug the stereo into the computer without it.  It does have a pre-amp for plugging into other devices.  My computer is connected into my stereo receiver which is the way to go.  Also explains the messy photos of said turntable, the modem is in the way.

How does it work?  Lift lid and place vinyl on.  Select 33 or 45 rpm and select 12" or 7".  Press Start. The arm returns to the resting position when it is finished or when Stop is pressed.  The only issue is that I have to change or flip the  record more often than I would if I was playing something off the computer.  Time management.

One problem, when someone walks into the room to speak to me I cannot pause it or return to the track when they are finished.  Suppose I could lift up the cover and lift up the arm and wait to place it back down but it's not like the digital format.  Oh yeah, when you aere so intent on what you are doing you miss the track you wanted to hear.  Sacrifice, sacrifice...

How does it sound?  Fuller, louder, richer.  Amazing.  On older vinyl it sounds live, the scratches and cracks between tracks sound like the crickets at a boring concert when the crowd is so underwhelmed they don't make a sound.

Among the hidden treasures of the vinyl collection I found in my childhood home is Roger Water's Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.  Concept lp of a nightmare, yes, very Pink Floydish.  Eric Clapton plays guitar, Ray Cooper on drums.  I was lucky enough in 1984 to get the uncensored cover.  Subsequent pressings had her ass covered up.

Interesting fact:  This is the first turntable I have ever purchased.  When I left for college I took my parents!  And that was in 1984.

Side one of this is most excellent.  Not only has Tainted Love, their biggest hit, but it opens with Frustration, a track that describes a middle aged man.  That track and Youth mean a lot more to me now than it did when I first listened to them back in 1981.  Seedy Films, however, is my favorite. 

Sad Fact:  I abandoned my vinyl collection back in 1996 while moving.  The turntable was long dead by years, CDs ruled the day.  We were moving to Des Moines.  Three little kids and only one friend to help move.  just seemed like too much to pick those boxes up and put them into the truck on a cold and snowy December day.  My regret.  I also left a box of cassettes behind.  Unlike the move from Cedar Falls, I took all the bicycles, abandoning a JC Higgins and a Schwinn Typhoon.

Time to rebuild.  I've been purchasing newly released vinyl from bands I really enjoy recently.  Someof it pretty interesting, colored vinyl and shaped discs, heavy weight records as well.  When cleaning out my mother's house a few years back I found a crate of vinyl in my former bedroom.  Mostly shit from high school.  Journey, Men At Work, U2's War, REO Speedwagon, BOC, Van Halen, AC/DC, Kiss, Eagles, Robert Plant's solo lp ect.  I'll probably give those away.  But I did find Roger Water's Pros and Cons of hitchhiking, Soft Cell and Lenny and the Squigtones.  My uncle told me that the latter lp may be work something in the future.

Christopher Guest and Michael McKean's musical group before Spinal Tap

Notice the name of the guitar player....
But I ain't hip.  Much too old.  Non-hip musical tastes.  No man bun.  I'm a Viking, loud, alcoholic, "cunt" in my vocabulary, tribal musically.

The reaction I had when I I heard the lp version of The Perfect Kiss instead of the 9 minute sonic orgasm known as the official 12" single.  Seriously, if there was a space limitation they should have placed the lp version of Subculture instead of the john robie bastardization of that track.  That single is New Order's worst, so bad that Peter Saville refused to do art work for it.  #NewOrderIssues

* The Vikings, hardcore New Order fans.  They have their own catalog number from Factory Records, FAC 383.  Name come from the opening music that was played as NO walked on stage, Funeral For a Viking.

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