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Bebop Spoken There

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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Friday, December 28, 2018

RIP Nipper

The sad news is that HMV is once again going into administration and, sadly, this time it looks as if Nipper, like HMV's 2000 plus employees, will no longer be the musical face of the High Street.

This, in an era when, smaller, independent record shops are appearing on every street corner, seems to be an anachronism. People are downloading rather than buying CDs yet are still shelling out for vinyl at grossly inflated prices. 

The debate on the merits of the two formats goes on. 

Personally, I like vinyl because you can at least read the notes without a magnifying glass. However, as the name implies, CDs are more compact and take up less space but, whereas I lovingly hold an LP, almost caressing it before I place it on the turntable and listen, a CD is, irrespective of the music, colder, almost frigid by comparision. The scratching sounds of well-played vinyl are as much a part of the listening experience as the moans and groans emoted whilst in the ecstatic throes of passion.  They become wallpaper alongside say, Songs For Swinging Lovers, A Kind of Blue, Concert by the Sea or your own particular favourite.

Downloads? I can't be arsed with them although, maybe soon I'll have no choice. However, whereas you can't buy a download in a charity shop for 50p, jazz LPs you can - they are out there, you just have to look...
Lance.
PS: 78s too!

2 comments :

Ken Drew (on F/b) said...

Well Said !:) Shame about Nipper though 😕

Steve T said...

The only thing vinyls have going for them is the album sleeve; so nothing - just buy a poster (my friend bought a magnifying glass to read the liner notes of Mingus' Black Saint). Vinyls were designed specifically for radio play and the artists didn't actually like the snap, crackle and pop.

The problem with downloads/streaming is that people tend not to play the album. Some bands - ie Genesis/ Pink Floyd - have tried to stop people selecting tracks, but nobody takes any notice.

Some people in the media have tried to say CDs never took off, which is patently nonsense. I remember Piers Morgan saying, in a claim befitting of a Dallas scriptwriter, we went from vinyls to downloads.

Five years ago the only people who cared about vinyls were the half a dozen people who weren't sufficiently interested in music to replace their half a dozen vinyls. Does nobody else think it curious that all of these people went back to vinyls at the same time, which just so happens to coincide with the time the media started telling us to; a bit like the Beatles in the nineties.

We flatter ourselves it's about freewill, taste, opinion. There's a very famous essay by Marshall McLuhan called ' the Medium is the Message' (written in the sixties (I think)) where he claims people are more interested in the means of transmission than the content.

The figures are also grossly exaggerated by the media. Just over 4 million last year against nearly 3 million of just one Ed Sheeran album, and over 40 million CDs; the media didn't tell us that; they didn't mention Cds at all.

Since the media tells us that music fans prefer vinyls (vinyls fans prefer vinyls, music fans prefer music), if each one gets one for christmas, one for birthday, one for fathers day, one on vinyls record shop day and one just because they're such big music fans, that's about 2 thousand people buying vinyls.

Last year the BBC claimed that almost half of vinyls bought remained sealed, while they download/stream the music. The vinyls are left lying around as a demonstration of how right-on he is - it's always always stupid, white, straight men.

No doubt it'll be up again this year, now that all us middle class, middle aged, square men got a player last christmas. Christmas, birthday, fathers day presents for life.

I've even heard people say they prefer vinyls because great music is supposed to be difficult, and it requires effort to turn it over after side one and you have to go to a shop or a post-office because it won't fit through a letter-box. I don't think this is what people mean when they say the best music requires effort.

The insistence on vinyls has been catastrophic to the Soul Scene. When I left it in the early nineties, it was the best it's ever been and going in the right direction (in no small part, because of me). I had the best collection of vinyls in the region (probably still unsurpassed) and now have one of the best collections (on CD) in the country, perhaps the world. Now any fool with half a box of not very good vinyls can turn up and play the same rubbish every night and middle-aged men who went to Wigan Casino years too late and haven't been anywhere since will say KTF.

The media tell us that vinyls will save music (like punk-rock and the Beatles) but the reverse is true (in all three cases). The greatest collections of music on a hard copy the world will ever see has been CDs. The good news for me is they're drying up; the bad news is they're rocketing in price. The media don't tell us that either.

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