During the summer, I was in Edinburgh for a day out. I love walking round the old town, the Royal Mile and the Grassmarket. There are lots of old book shops and antique shops, with old jewellery, rings and watches etc for sale. At the bottom of the Grassmarket, there is a music shop called Red Dog Music. They sell guitars and keyboards. Next door, there was, a record store, sadly closed down since but, on this day, still open. After we had a look at the Fenders and Gibson guitars, I took my boys in to have a look at the LP’s. I have been telling them for years, how good they were in my day. How we used to carry them under our arms and bounce along the road with our long hair blowing behind us. How we would sit at home, reading the lyrics on our new gate fold sleeve album covers. I have never really considered the option of buying LP’s, I gave away my turntable years ago but, this particular day, I saw an old Elton John album, can’t even remember what one it was, it had a lovely gatefold sleeve and that is what planted the seed in my head.
Later on in the summer, and a long awaited book from Amazon arrived at home. It had been on order for ages and was a fantastic, Victorian gothic, murder mystery. The Pierced Heart by Lynn Shepherd. It was a hard back copy, I don’t read many hard back books but I loved reading this one. I even took it to work with me, keeping it in a plastic bag to make sure it stayed in perfect condition. Left the dust cover safely at home, of course. After I finished The Pierced Heart, I really enjoyed it, Lynn Shepherd on top form. I took a trip to my local Waterstons in the Almondvale shopping centre, Livingston. I had a good look through the new releases, mostly hard back editions and decided to buy Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon. It was okay I suppose, three stars. I know that a book I had only rated three stars in the past, would never have been finished but, because it was a hard back copy, I ploughed on and finished. Bit of a weird logic there I think. Well you can’t half read, an expensive, hard back book, can you. At the moment I am reading The Zone of Interest, the new one by Martin Amis, a Christmas present. I have never read him before, I do hope he is good. It would be great to read all his back catalogue.
These things I have been writing about, LP’s and Books, are perhaps an old fashioned love of mine. I was told, a few years ago, by a lot of people and led to believe by the media that CD’s, were the future. The music was better and the small cases where the disc is stored were much easier to handle. It was all rubbish, we were hoodwinked by a load of know it all’s, because, you can’t beat having an LP on your knee, as I’ve said, with all the sleeve notes and lyrics to read while you listen to the music. Why does it have to be smaller? Just because the big corporations think we want everything small and disposable. It is even worse now with music downloading. I have a lot of music on my Ipod and because of this, I couldn’t tell you the name of the tracks I’m listening to. So you end up listening to all of Coldplay’s albums and not being able to name one of their songs. That’s not progress, In the old days I knew all the songs by the bands I loved. Why should we listen to all those people trying to tell us small is best. It does not make sense, an LP is a thing of beauty.
Now books are a bit different. You can’t download a book. Oh yes you can! But, downloading books, still means you have to read it. Unless you buy an audio book of course. I like my Kindle and good luck to everyone who uses them. They are great for new authors to self publish their own work and great for us readers to read it. It’s fantastic as a mobile device, taking it on holiday, or as I do reading when I’m on the road, during my break. But, I still love to read a real, hard back book. I am a slow reader, so buying one book every couple of months is not going to break the bank.
Books and LP’s. I think I have to take the time to once again cherish my music and my literature. Nothing wrong with being a bit old fashioned. Is there?
Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.