I often reflect on all of the things I grew up with that my son will know nothing about.
Today I read this sentence:
It was the first release of When Doves Cry by Prince (b/w 17 Days).
No, my son, it does not mean between in text-speak. It means backed with from the long ago days of 45 rpms, small vinyl discs with two sides, two songs, and a little gizmo wedged in the center to make them playable on a turntable.
You could hold the physical object in your hand and spin the internal edge on your index finger. Yes, music used to be something you could touch. Music was stored in paper sleeves that eventually tore no matter how careful you were. Before resting it on the turntable and ever so gently dropping the needle, it was wise to conduct an inspection for dust and scratches.
That object was yours. Your music. You cared for it. You stored it. You kept it on a shelf or in a crate. Your friends flipped through your music when they came over. You hesitated to lend out those records. You hesitated like they were your children, assessing who would care for them as carefully as you did. Kids would sit around and listen to records as in Hey, wanna come over to my house and listen to records? It was an activity. It was real in a way iPods and digital music will never be able to replicate.
There used to be an entire ritual associated with music. I find it sad that today’s generation will only ever know the click of a mouse followed by the spin of a jog wheel. They won’t know the communal joy of perusing cover art in a brick and mortar store with other people doing the exact same thing, while music chosen by the on-duty clerk blared from the speakers overhead, the walls plastered with posters of cover art, bands in outlandish costumes, touring dates, and fluorescent pot leaves on black velvet .
They won’t have the experience of peeling back the thin, slippery plastic and pulling an LP from its cover to discover the art or, maybe, if one is very lucky, lyrics on the sleeve. Delicately easing a needle onto virgin vinyl, knowing it will soon hiss and pop with wear.
Christ, I sound old.
Hey, you kids! Get off my lawn. I’m listening to my records.