The Outsider: Don’t be no record breaker
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | August 13 2015|
Last week, we installed a very fancy, new digital sound system in a clients’ home. But, and here’s the ironic thing, we had to hook it up to the record player.
Yep, the record player. That’s what I call it, anyway. Maybe it’s a turntable or more likely a deck to you but I stand on one of those with a beer in my hand, so a record player it is to me.
However, tis not what the technology is called but the fact that this well-off person had deemed it necessary to install a device for playing flat plastic musical discs within his state-of-the art digital entertainment system. Things are on the turn, that’s what I say. We’ve been on this race to the future for quite awhile now and stuff, mostly inane, not exactly vital to the survival of mankind stuff, has evolved at an ever-increasing rate. Telephones have gone from Bakerlite lumps connected by wires to the exchange and each other to cordless, micro, super computers that can tell me where I am even when I don’t know, and ring my mum from anywhere in the world. TVs have evolved from big brown boxes to super flat screens with pictures that are more exciting than real life. And music, well, from musical boxes to 78, 45 and 33, tape cassette, CD, mini disc (they never really took off) and now download.
But, the trouble is we’re quite literally losing touch, in all kinds of ways. Our phones and TVs are cleverer than we are and our music has never been so accessible but we can’t quite grasp it, the way our phone works nor anything about the music that we’ve just downloaded. That’s why folks are falling back on what they know.
A record player, no less.
You see, that record player is more than just an instrument on which to play music. It is a physical thingy. A doodad or gadget that takes little or no science to work out, and which does not exactly what you tell it to do but exactly what you do with it. No bugs, no apps required, no operating software, just a needle and arm lifted and dropped upon the spinning disc.
A moment of charged silence.
And then music. Coming straight from that hopefully flat, often ever so slightly scratched disc that you slipped from its sleeve and set upon the turntable.
The music is wonderfully ‘warm’ sounding, or so they tell me. That’s why people are returning to the analogue, dumping the digital. That may be so but I also think folks like their record players because of that … flipping through albums, slipping from sleeves, wiping with the sleeve of a shirt and then setting on the turntable, and most of all, the silence broken by crackle just before the tune starts. People like their record players because they give back those few moments of luxurious time.
The time that stands still as music is pondered, chosen and placed. They enjoy the forced pause, the kick back against the instantaneous gratification of a world of high-speed everything.
Last week I stepped back from digital to analogue and it felt good.
WILL JONES - is The Outsider