May Mood: When I Was Young

I just freaking love Autumn and it feels so surreal here in Perth where the weather has been 50% Summer AF for the last month or so.  As someone who battles SAD, (but then again I think we all do to be honest), I often find myself becoming more introspective and introverted over the Autumn months.  It's not necessarily a bad thing - I quite like a bit of nostalgic feels, not so great when Winter rolls into town, but-! while the days a cool and the Autumn sun is crisp and clear, I enjoy the little things.

Lately, I've been really into collecting vinyl (as you may have seen) and really nice editions of my favourite books (you may not have noticed), and always with a nostalgic bent.  

Funnily enough my May Mood is a bit upbeat and whimsical...

May Mood 2018.jpg

Reliving my youth, I've really jumped in the Delorean on this one.  When I was around 8 or 9 years old, I received my first cassette player.  You could plug a mic in it to karaoke and everything.  That shit was lit AF.  Of course, my parents knew I would need some sweet tunes, can you guess what cassette they bought? No not TRUE BLUE. Sacriledge! So 30 years later I own She's So Unusual on vinyl, and listening to it takes me back to walking home from school with the Autumn leaves falling across those quite country town streets, humming All Through The Night as I go.  Later in life, it occurred to me that it was an interesting album to buy a young girl, a year later I received GnR's Appetite for Destruction (and thus my love for music was born), so I guess things all work out in the end.

May Mood 2018 detail.jpg

On the reading list is The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen.  Talk about repackaging and marketing to the millennial crew ... sigh.  I'm sure when my grandparents owned a massive bound copy of this same collection (that sat on the brick hearth running the length of their living room) it was called A Complete Collection of Fairy Tales.  I could be selective in memory - The Little Mermaid was never a favorite of mine.

This copy is rather colorfully bound, but the quality of the reprint is amazing and really takes me back to my childhood.  Just seeing all the color prints and black and white illustrations (both full page and just dotted here & there!) was enough to sell this to my collection.  I do (somewhat halfheartedly) wish the cover itself had been less OMG MERMAAAIIIIDZZZZ but some months have passed and I'm warming to it.  After all, I can't shame game the cover after the Vegan bound version (I assume as its plastic as FUCK) of Dracula I purchased for its gawth aesthetic.  Sorry, I swore up there, dollar for the swear jar later...

So You've Decided to Become A Vinyl Loving Hipster

A while back I fell down one of those rabbit holes life puts in your path that you manage to fall down when you are vaguely disinterested in your everyday life.  I developed a "hobby".  Well maybe not so much a hobby, but a very focused interest in collecting actual physical copies of music albums again.  And of course, being the generational war zone that I am, I settled on reliving my childhood through record ownership.

I tell myself this every day.

I tell myself this every day.

To be honest, I didn't really give it much thought - I just went into JB Hifi (gasp) one day and picked up a cheap entry level turntable (double gasp) and a couple of albums and started playing.  

Welcome to the douche snobbery club...

Now let's be honest about turntables should we?  Despite several comments either side of the fence when it comes to what constitutes an entry level turntable, I did start out with what I would term a "toy" type player.  I actually liked the look of the thing in its little suitcase being all retro, but it was basically an Australian branded Crosley player.  Not the best quality but, heck I thought it did the job.

Well I was so fucking wrong.  It took my third record to figure that out... quickly.  Because Queens of the Stoneage (those sonafabitches) released Like Clockwork as 45 rpm.  Damn that cheap cute player really could not handle that, and the distortion was just terrible.  So when I went back to play the other two records I owned at the time, I could not help but notice just how bad they sounded now to my polluted ears.

This image sums up nicely how QOTSA managed to mangle my perception of hearing.

This image sums up nicely how QOTSA managed to mangle my perception of hearing.

So I was kind of put off after that, because no matter where I went online there were a number of audiophiles obviously bashing the likes of Crosley, but also citing "If you're serious about vinyl you at least need ..." and the dollars kept piling up.  I didn't want to spend so much on a system I couldn't afford the albums themselves.  I hunted for the holy grail - a second hand setup from the 70s-80s, but believe it or not, the ones I found were priced higher than some higher spec new ones.  

I took a breath, and stepped back from my affair with vinyl for a number of months and searched for a solution.  The closest I could come to an "affordable" turntable with good reviews was one from Pro-Ject, and luckily a local hifi shop had several of their models in stock for me to compare.  I ended up with the Pro-Ject Essential II for just under $400 AUD on a Christmas promo, and while I still don't have epic speakers, I can already hear the difference in quality.  It's comforting to know that I haven't spent too much, even though it's way more than a toy player.

Collect all the things!

Safe to say, once the cost of your initial setup is out of the way, vinyl collecting can either be an expensive obsession or a relaxing lifestyle hobby.  At first, I was obsessed with trawling through the vinyl sections at music stores, but after a couple of months and a few hundred dollars I became more focused and select about my purchases.  It sounds like epic douche-baggery to say, but I started to curate a collection for myself based on memories, experiences, and people I have in my life.  

It's true you know.

It's true you know.

Nearly every album I have acquired in the last 5 months has a story as to why it's in my collection.  Of course I don't go around telling these stories - I'd sound like a hipster nut job, but I can kind of get why the guy from High Fidelity looked at sorting his collection autobiographically.

At the time of writing this, my collection is very small, only 31 albums.  Still that hasn't stopped me from downloading the Discogs app and keeping track of what I have for on the go wishlist making.  

I don't own Blonde on Blonde...

I don't own Blonde on Blonde...