One of the things that makes me laugh is the slew of articles that have been written lately about the resurgence of vinyl. I laugh mainly because I felt that the vinyl resurgence had come and gone. I associated the trend with Matador’s renewed commitment to reissuing some of their back catalogue on 180 gram vinyl, something they did four or five years ago.
I chew my friend Mark’s ear off all the time whenever I read a new story declaring that the vinyl LP — the vehicle that brought rock ’n’ roll into garages, living rooms, and basements across America — would rise like a Phoenix, carrying the music industry on its back. It’s a lovely, romantic thought to which I say, “Fat chance.”
Me? I’ve been see-sawing back and forth between loving the medium and loving it but having no room for the cumbersome equipment that can dominate any Philadelphia apartment or rowhome easily if you’re not careful.
I hadn’t been very careful myself. Various incarnations of my stereo have been in my life since I was a grad student in New York City. It was a fixture in my room and I don’t know what I would’ve done if I couldn’t blast Spoon or the Ramones or the New Pornographers through my headphones during the last recession. It was a godsend.
Fast-forward a few years and I found myself jockeying for space. It was no longer acceptable to simply have the components somewhere on the floor so I could huddle next to it with my oversized headphones. I bought nice speakers from the good people at Axiom Audio and was all set.
Except I wasn’t.
Everything was too big. Like I said above, unless the stars align, it’s really hard to find a place to put a stereo, especially when you live in places that have been gut-rehabbed. There are no corners where one can safely tuck away a component stereo system. Accordingly, the stereo went from being a vital part of my life to being packed up and stowed in the guest room before it spent a few weeks in the basement.
It was replaced by a tiny iPod-enabled speaker with AM/FM radio. I was rejecting music in physical formats like so many other consumers. I also noticed that I listened to music in proportion to the equipment I had to play it. There have been long stretches where music is something I do for work, and then leave alone when I’m at home.
That is, until today. Helen and I picked up a neat new sofa — IKEA, natch — and a new nook was born! The side table that was once cluttered with books and mail suddenly looked like a great stereo stand.
My stereo has a new lease on life and I couldn’t be happier. I’m doing things I haven’t done in years, namely going to record stores and trolling eBay for deals on LPs. I feel like a new man!