London Lifestyle Blog

Record Store Day 2017

In celebration of this year’s Record Store Day I wanted to share the story of how my obsession for vinyl began and also a few tips for any beginners. 
Music has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved blasting my favourite tunes loud from my living room stereo. I would always assume the role of the family DJ, insisting on a certain song to match the particular occasion or mood. When I wasn’t playing music aloud, I was assembling the perfect playlist to listen to in earphones when I’m on the go. 

I’m that type of person who will assess the length of a journey based on how many songs I listen to. I’ve always loved collecting albums from my favourite musicians: I would revel at listening to a solid, perfectly crafted record in it’s entirety. I would sit close to the stereo with the lyric book and learn the lines so I could understand more about the music and sing along better. 

Once I had stacked up a load of CDs -made up mostly of a few artist’s whole discography- I decided that I wanted a medium that would cater for all of my music taste. I wanted to have physical, tangible copies of the music my parents used to play and, as I began to realise my old soul and love for rock and roll, I wanted to start collecting music that my grandparents would have listened to. 

And that’s when I decided that I wanted to start buying vinyl. That nostalgia for a lost time or for a euphoric moment that I knew I loved but I never really experienced in my childhood. 

I would always see stacks and stacks of old, second-hand records on my vintage shopping trips but I knew without a record player, they would be useless until brought to life by the spinning of the turntable. 

So, my sister treated me to my first record player on my birthday. I knew I needed something portable but something that would still sound good. Portability meant it had to have an in-built speaker and it had to be reasonably lightweight. After attempting to by a Crosley (which arrived broken 3 times), and reading many reviews and top 10 lists, I settled for an Ion turntable. 

I knew that I needed it to be portable so I could bring it to university and that it wouldn’t take up too much space. But I’m happy with having an in-built speaker turntable until I have my own apartment to have the space for large speakers and a very pricey Audio Technica.

This Ion turntable is perfect for my first record player and I’ve joyfully played many records on it since. So, now I enjoy the sweet sound of the richer layers of music on my records with the therapeutic spinning of the record, and the vintage crackle as the needles sets on old records. This was the music experience that I had been waiting for! 

If you’ve recently had an interest in records here are a few beginner tips on how to buy records. 

  1. Know that you don’t always have to buy your records brand new. £25 can either get you one record in a high street store or five records in a record fair or market stall. 
  2. Always shop around for the same record: get to know the general price that it sells for so you’re not spending too much on a small collection. 
  3. Research and listen to the record before you buy it on vinyl. It’s not as easy to skip songs with a record player so make sure that you shop for an album that you actually love. 
  4. If you’re shopping second hand in markets or record shops feel free to take out the used record and check it for flaws or ask for the condition. Visible dents or scratches will make the record sound poor and crackle. But a few hairline scratches may not affect the sound quality at all. Make sure you research what damage to look out for on YouTube videos. 
  5. Care for your records once you have them. Handle them carefully and avoid putting greasy or dirty hands directly on the face of the record. You can dust and clean them with microfiber cloths and other record caring solutions/brushes too. 

I hope the tips help any beginners to record shopping and I’d love to hear about any tips that long-time record collectors have in the comments below. 

Support your local record store and Happy Record Store Day! 

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