For the love of vinyl

As I was dabbling with the idea of a radio station in my teens, I was also amassing a record collection. I would buy everything I liked. And I liked just about everything.

It was my grandma who got me started. Caroline (Carrie) Longhurst (1920-1985). She had a hip sixties Dansette record player and a well thumbed box of singles and albums. She may even have had a plastic hip. Even now, I remember some standout songs and artists from her collection.

Just listen to them. Quite an eclectic collection of sounds for a fifty something gran. She would eventually leave me this eclectic record collection when she died ten or so years later. But that vinyl selection was the inspiration I needed to start my very own music collection that would include many hundreds of albums and singles. A few years ago, I created and shared an Apple playlist of a few songs from my gran’s vinyl collection. It was fairly popular for a while. She had some great music, my nan.

From about 1980, I eagerly bought virtually the entire Top  5 or 10 singles each week. I would religiously cut out and keep the BMRB (British Market Research Bureau) pop charts as they appeared in the Sun on Wednesdays or Record Mirror on Thursdays. I’d identify which songs I didn’t yet own and go buy them on Saturday morning at Boots, WHSmith, Our Price or one of the many local music stores we had in abundance in Croydon. 

My Saturday job and working during the holidays financed my vinyl buying spree.  I’d buy virtually everything, almost on principle. It had to be a pretty awful song for me to omit it from my shopping list.

Strangest of all, I would always listen to the Sunday night chart run down despite knowing the results already and having the songs on disc. In those unenlightened times, five days passed between the charts being published on Tuesday and the tracks being played out on the Sunday night chart show. Come to think of it, the radio really was late to the party. Top of the Pops had already aired the chart on BBC TV on Thursday evenings. It was as if radio listeners never looked at TV and TV viewers never looked at newspapers.  What a funny naive bunch we were. I think I must have got some sort of perverse pleasure listening to the radio show and knowing which song would show up at each chart position and guessing which song the presenter would drop. Twenty songs in an hour must have been an impossibility even in those halcyon days.

My vinyl music collection became humongous. I had a couple of thousand singles and maybe a thousand albums. It became a nightmare to house over time and followed me throughout my growing up. When we moved from our first married home, I decided I’d dispense with the collection. Although quite painful to get rid of something so personal and precious, I had been duplicating my entire music collection in MP3 format and building on it many times over besides. When the time came to moving, I somehow felt comfortable in giving up all that vinyl, safe in the knowledge I had it all in digital form. Big mistake really.

In a moment of altruism, I decided to donate the collection to a charity store in the hope they’d make a good price on the wide range of music and the many rare and original items in the collection. On arriving at the local Oxfam shop, I was met with such indifference and disinterest in this treasure trove I was offering them, I walked straight out and... I’m somewhat ashamed to admit... binned the entire collection at the dump. It was a mad, reckless, spiteful gesture and one which I regret. Furthermore, I ensured no one else benefitted by throwing everything into the crusher. Just mad. Completely bonkers. I still shudder thinking about it, even now.


Posted by Tim on Mon 04 Apr at 09:51 and viewed 151 times.

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