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Hello, Vinyl

In Music by Marianna KatsaouniLeave a Comment

I should very much like to go back in time. Approximately fifteen years should suffice for me to relive the joy of buying my very own stereo, for which I had been saving my allowance for almost two years. I used to wake up to music, a dreamed of luxury I had finally acquired, and bedtime was always accompanied by a painstaking procedure of choosing the alarm tune of the next day. I did not have a huge collection of CDs back then, but I surely dreamed I would own one some day, and though I appreciate everything the information era has brought to me – especially in regard to music exploration – I cannot help but believe that my music, back then, might not have been as profound, uncommercialized or meaningful as it is today, but it felt, nonetheless, more meaningful to me.

I would carefully choose the next album I was going to buy and when I did, I’d listen to it time after time, not missing a single note, at the same time learning all the lyrics by heart and always having a dictionary handy to check for unknown english words. A music store was, to me, much like an amusement park to a six year old and a CD pamphlet had the enchanting, mystical qualities of a message in a bottle. I knew the exact order of the songs in each album, even more so, the track numbers of my favourite songs and my way of bringing new life into an old album I knew like the back of my hand, was none other than shuffle play. I loved the radio for it was the bearer of music discovery and of songs that were not, yet, part of my own collection. I also loved it because I could, once in a while, call the radio station and dedicate a song to someone who was certainly not listening at that moment, but this was, by a long shot, my own way of sending a message to the universe.

CDs were superb gifts, my father’s vinyl record collection was the gateway to an orphic kingdom of magical, scratchy sounds, concerts were rare, but most gratifying experiences.

Today genres melt into each other, just like ideologies do, perhaps in a cynical yet pragmatic way. I dare say we have more access to music than we’ve ever had in the past. The left side of my brain urges me to deem this a great progress – and it most probably is. As much as this is no more than a nostalgic rant, as much as I rationalise or account for vinyl collectors’ take on CDs, the emotional fifteen year old I conceal within me as I turn thirty, screams for romance. She yearns for music and everything else, to be as absolute an experience as the first love. More than anything else, music alludes us not only to the inevitable change of our emotional and rational self, but also the very process of this change. And this it does via its remarkable tie to our memory. I listen to a song I used to love and it does not reach out to me the way it did ten or fifteen years ago, though it manages to stir my teen memories. Perhaps I cannot listen anymore with such naivety, likewise, I cannot admire the sound of my violin the way I used to or that guitar solo the way I did the first time I heard it. We have become accustomed to genius, prodigy and everything ideal just like we have become accustomed to the exact opposites. We have become witnesses of this change, without ever trying to change its very path. We account for it, criticise or praise it, but we do not disturb it – one would assume it is completely irrelevant to our very own evolution.

Lately, I indulge myself with Charlie Chaplin movies, pausing ever so often to think that this man carried a message, certain humanitarian beliefs and was, at the same time, a comedian, a musician, a dancer, an artist in so many different ways. Never did it occur to me, just until now, that it is still this teen self of mine, who needs to admire and rediscover, that obliged me to look that far into the past. I should like to find that inspiration again.

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