Friday, 12 February 2010

Turntable love

'There's nothing like the warm smell of vinyl, and the sound of a stylus rumbling in the groove'

One place that I keep coming back to for wifey gift ideas is a home styling and gift shop here in Cambridge called Ark. A little while back I was doing just that, corkscrewing up an ornate iron staircase draped in colourful bunting that surfaced on the second floor. Part attic room and period time capsule, the walls of the shop seemed to be closing in on this narrow, fur trimmed eyrie that hovers alongside Great St. Mary's church on the corner of the market square. Coats, dresses, hats, horn rimmed spectacles, old road maps and magazines, cake stands, jewelry, scarfs and shoes, all of them scenting the air with a faint whiff of days gone by.

What caught my attention though was an old record player that sat over by the till, from which the velvety voice of Frank Sinatra swept up all who cared to listen for a twin-propped flight around the globe, singing - "It's very nice to go trav'ling to Paris, London and Rome/It's oh so nice to go trav'ling/But it's so much nicer, yes it's so much nicer, to come home." Like a loose iron filing I was magnetized to the turntable. Standing next to it was a small hand written sign inviting customers to interact, to cut Sinatra off in his prime if they so desired, if they even dared!

In the end I turned heel and left empty handed, trickling back down the spiral staircase and out into the bustling square.

'Caught in the headlights'

'Sexy sax, Grover beard'

I have a stack of old vinyl, as we all do, warping away in the loft in plastic bags, the Dual turntable I had broke some years back, and now I find out that they have become something of a collectors item. I'm not sure, but I seem to remember throwing it out, the lovely Mrs. K was getting a bit tired of the records taking up so much room.

On an interesting note though, a friend of ours who used to be a music journalist for the NME magazine, came over to sort through our records at a time when we were considering selling them on, in fact we did sell some despite all the protesting voices of friends telling us not to.


It turns out that the goodly Mrs.K was a bit of a cool groovy chick in her day, still is I have to say, but in her teens she was gyrating on the dance floors of the hip Jazz/Funk clubs in Brighton and hanging out with DJ's. This translated into the music that she brought to our relationship, our shared haul of Lp's, quietly sitting there unnoticed until our friend came by to let his fingers do the walking.

Wifey's funktastic floor fillers were of much more interest to him than what I had to offer! Out came the daisy yellow vinyl of Rose Royce's - 'In Full Bloom II', Grover Washington Junior, Gene Dunlap, Donald Byrd and the fabtastic Love Unlimited Orchestra. Why on earth would anyone want my 80s rock music? Okay, there was one of mine, picked for its novelty value, and don't laugh, because we all have one of these, or more, that we have hidden or taken to charity shops in an effort to hide our embarrassment.

My little secret was a Byron Berline album called 'Dad's Favourites', it has a boring postcard quality about it that I challenge anyone to match. And where is my cool cat wifey tonight?, out dancing to the music of course!

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