My New Vinyl Endeavour

This is a post I’d never expect I’d ever write. I’m a heavy CD buyer, but I’ve never collected vinyl. That is, until about two weeks ago. My dad was looking at his music collection and in doing so, he unearthed his old vinyls, which he hadn’t seen in goodness knows how long. Me and Dad have a fairly similar music taste so a lot of albums I love were discovered. Tango In The Night by Fleetwood Mac, Graceland by Paul Simon and Songs From The Big Chair by Tears For Fears being just three examples. Needless to say, I was in my element.

They were just three vinyls in a larger batch he gave to me. The 12″ of Blue Monday has become a particularly prized item in my music collection. It got me thinking though because a few months ago a family friend kindly gave me about a dozen Madonna vinyls. And I have a very limited amount of vinyls myself that I bought in a now closed down vintage store here in Belfast about two years ago. I’ve no turntable so I’ve not been able to hear any of it. And I’ve always wanted one to.  Getting this influx of records has made me finally bite the bullet: at long last, I’m going to get a turntable and start a vinyl collection!

Of course, I’ll need to be limited with my vinyl. I’ve got around about 500 CDs, and there’s just no way I can possibly replicate that on vinyl. It’s just not financially feasible. So I’ve set myself some limitations. For now, I’m only going to collect Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, The Clash/Joe Strummer and Factory Records vinyls (New Order, Joy Division etc). Amazingly, it doesn’t seem too difficult to do. I’ve discovered a great shop in Belfast city centre (situated in Wellington Place) called Dragon Records. I’ve already bought about six vinyls from there. For Factory Records and The Clash/Joe Strummer, they’ll be my main source. I’ve actually already bought some Clash/Joe Strummer and New Order records from there. I’m going to a few other places in the next couple of days too. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new found hobby progresses!

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Why We Should Cherish Our Heroes

Davidbowie2With the sad news of Lou Reed’s passing nearly a week ago, it’s got me thinking. Thinking and reflecting about the most morbid of subjects. Death. More specifically: death in the music industry.

Lou Reed passed away at 71. No short life by any stretch of the imagination. It’s made me think though of other musical legends at a similar age though. People like David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan amongst many others. They all belong in the same age bracket. Lou Reed’s relatively unexpected passing just reminded me of a pretty horrible thought. That sadly, legends such as those that I’ve mentioned are now at the point in their lives were we can no longer take their continuing presence for granted. Of course you can never take life for granted really, but that’s especially the case the longer you live. After all – death is the only true certainty in life. It makes you think, doesn’t it?

Then to balance that, it made me think of artists that didn’t have the luxury of even living 71 years. My record collection is dominated by artists who died far too soon. People like Ian Curtis, Joe Strummer, Kurt Cobain etc. Everyday I’ve spent listening to their records, I’ve done so with the full knowledge that I will never hear a new record from them again. In the case of Ian Curtis and Kurt Cobain I’ll never have the chance to even share the earth with them – they died before I was born.  Joe Strummer died when I was eight. Obviously I was far too young for The Clash at that age. With these three men it feels like a waste. Their bodies of work speak for themselves in terms of quality, but I can’t help but feel that should they have lived longer more excellent music was coming. Especially for Ian Curtis – I can’t help but feel we may have not even seen the best Joy Division album. An alarming thought for sure given how excellent Unknown Pleasures and Closer are. Sadly though we will never know if the best was yet to come. joe-strummer-railway-bw-9710

This is all a bit of a stream of thoughts, but it’s a subject that really has featured on my mind this week. This week, I was sure to be grateful to have the chance to read new announcements from David Bowie regarding The Next Day Extra. Not a huge thing I know, but it’s something I can’t say I can ever expect from Joe Strummer. It’s sad, but that’s just the way things are. His death won’t detract from my enjoyment of his work though, and he’ll continue to have significant importance in my life. His death has no barring on that.

I guess I’m trying to explain two things here. That it’s imperative we cherish the legends whilst we have them. It’s brilliant to see legends like Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon etc still releasing music and still reminding the world why they rightly deserve to be seen as the giants that they are. long may they continue to do so.  However there will come the inevitable time where that won’t be the case, and we’ll have to bid farewell to them. Although – and this is my second point – we can take comfort in the fact that their records won’t die. And for those that have died too soon, let’s be thankful for the music they gave us in their all too brief lives. All in all, let’s be thankful. In the wake of Lou Reed’s death, I for one will be sure to be thankful that David Bowie, Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen are still around just that little bit more.