Put the Needle on the Record

I’m 33 years old and until last night I’d never actually operated a turntable. Never put the needle on the record, if you will. I had heard vinyl being played, of course, but no one had ever shown me how to use a record player and I was sort of terrified of scratching a record. And to be honest, recently I have been very happy with listening to music using Spotify and Google Play, because for the most part they have everything I want to hear.

But life has changed in some amazing and surprising ways that mostly have to do with meeting my new main squeeze. And one of these ways has to do with turntables. He has a collection of vinyl and played some of it for me one of the first times I went to his place. I liked seeing the albums and watching the process of playing the music, but I still stood a safe distance from the turntable and practically held my breath while leaning over it to watch the record turning.

Double Decker Records Allentown PASo yesterday he took me up to Double Decker Records in Allentown, his favorite place to shop for vinyl. I was excited to see this favorite place of his. When I walked in I thought, god, they’re going to peg me as a complete newb, but eventually after a bit of browsing in the main room we made it to the “50 Cent Room” where, as you might have guessed, all of the albums are 50 cents. This was where I lost myself. There were so many albums of so many different genres and sifting through them and showing finds to one another across the room was really, really fun. I enjoyed it sort of in the same way I love traveling, because it exposed me to things I might have forgotten about or never seen before if I keep myself holed up in my own world. Look! Peter, Paul, and Mary! The Monkees! Barbara Streisand! Dionne Warwick! Hair! Mary Poppins! Klezmer! Lots of skinny men with long hair and really tight pants!

I hadn’t really expected to shop for myself, seeing as I don’t have a record player and had never played a record before, but suddenly I found myself schlepping a huge stack of albums around the room and digging for more. And when we finally put up the white flag we had looked through not even half of what was in that room. My total bill was $7.42.

20140329_210900We got our spoils home and commenced cleaning the albums, which of course I also knew nothing about. And then I got a lesson in putting the needle on the record and it was like magic. The sound was wonderful and it was satisfying to think that maybe I had rescued music (I found some great jazz, classical, opera, and big band stuff) that might otherwise just rot away in a moldy basement. I got chills.

Here’s a little video I took of the record I decided to play first, Glenn Miller: A Memorial 1944-1969. What a huge win! Looks like this is just the beginning of a new adventure for me.

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