Packed away in the multitude of boxes that are gradually being sorted in our new home is an excellent and wonderfully nostalgic way to pass time.
Listening to vinyl is a remarkable experience. It is somehow more immediate and alive than listening to digital files. Perhaps it is something to do with the ritual of taking the record out of its cover, cleaning it and placing it on the player before starting the turntable and placing the arm on the black surface. Perhaps it is the quality of the sound. Perhaps it is the amazing covers on the records from the 1960s and 70s. Or perhaps it is just the fact that people who have long left us come back for a little while and, with a little thought, one can imagine them singing or playing into the microphone in the studio. Whatever it is, listening to a record is a special treat.
In the pile of records that accompany the days of paperwork and planning for work are some real treasures. Kiri Te Kanawa singing Gershwin at the moment, and, before that, Sarah Vaughan with Teddy Wilson. Boxed sets of Philip Glass, Benjamin Britten, John Adams and Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories Volumes 1 and 2 sit beside the chair, waiting patiently for a long enough period of time to properly listen. There is an old 78, thick, shiny black with His Master's Voice impressed on the back and on the playing side of this one-sided record, H. M. King George V broadcasting to the nation on Christmas Day 1935 A Message to the Empire, with all profits from the sale of the record being "paid to Charities nominated by H. M. The King". There is Grace Brumbry in Carmen Jones and somewhat more esoteric pressings - the sounds of the African savannah on one, and trains rushing past on another, recorded for the BBC sound effects archive.
There are many more records to find in the boxes but for the moment these will suffice. Here is to many more happy hours of audio pleasure!