Sometimes…just sometimes… in life you are lucky enough to be given the perfect present.
This happened to me on my last birthday thanks to the Big Green Gummi Bear.
In a way the present was twofold and if I’m totally honest I’m not sure which part I was more excited about.
So what was this wondrous gift? Diamonds? Gold? Designer shoes? A holiday?
None of these luxuries.
He bought me a record player.
The second part of the surprise was that he liberated my treasured vinyl collection from its exile in the loft. After more than ten years cowering in cardboard boxes up there those beautiful black discs had survived! They were still perfect!
Opening the boxes again after all these years was like opening a door back to my teenage years. (I did complain the albums were out of order and the Big Green Gummi Bear confessed the box had been too heavy to lift so he’d moved it in stages). In front of me, in two beautiful tatty cardboard boxes, lay my personal musical road map with all its twists and turns of genre.
Those of you who know me will appreciate that I’ve never been a fan of “popular” music but boy did I buy an eclectic collection of vinyl! Yes there is every Status Quo album from the late 1960’s through to the late 1980’s (my first musical addiction) but alongside them- now restored to its strict alphabetical order- lurk Chuck Berry, Black Sabbath, the Kinks, Def Leppard, Enya, Huey Lewis and the News and I’ll even confess to Kajagoogoo plus many more. The box of 7” singles is even more varied or worse depending on your personal taste. Amidst a plethora of Quo there’s Diana Ross, ACDC, Wham (why did I ever buy that?), the Boomtown Rats, Iron Maiden, Alvin Stardust and The Love Theme from The Thorn Birds tv series. Each and every one holding its own special place in my heart for a myriad of reasons.
Sliding the precious black grooved disc out of its sleeve and placing it carefully on the turntable for the first time in many years was a wonderful feeling. That little crackle the stylus gives as it finds the track. Ah the tiny sounds of nostalgia! I love them! The novelty of having to turn the disc over to hear the other tracks. The hilarity of explaining double albums to a 21st century teenager when I said the track being played was on side 4. Watching my children discovering the joys of vinyl- even if it did take Boy Child six months to touch it for fear of damaging something.
This re-discovery of my love of music has opened the flood gates. They were already in the process of being prised open but that’s a tale for another blog. All I can say with certainty is that they are most definitely open wide now!
So over the years have my tastes changed since I was saving up my pocket money or scrimping and saving the change from my school lunch money in order to buy the latest release in Woolworths on a Saturday? Not in the slightest! It’s still rock and metal all the way with a healthy dose of folk, country and the obscure thrown in.
And the best find in the magic box? Well it has to be “Appetite of Destruction” by Guns N Roses. Still as fresh over a quarter of a century down line. Timeless …… and the first one I played when I received the best birthday gift ever.