More Than Music | The Magic Of Vinyl Records

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W H Y  V I N Y L?

 After reading White Tears I became fascinated with the record collecting community. Why were more and more young people so taken with them? We thought Vinyl was rendered obsolete by the less cumbersome cassette tape, then the CD and now, with the dawn of digital music, just ones and zeros. But for some reason, those big spinning black discs are hanging on, but why? Well, there's one word that I keep hearing over and over again.


Vinyl has a unique property to its sound, a particularly warm and rich texture that is unmatched. The digital music we listen to today loses a certain depth and life that can only be achieved through vinyl. Captivated by this community, I finally decided to take the plunge and buy my own record player and see for myself. I quickly discovered vinyl is about much more than musical purism and amassing great numbers of rare and expensive records, but it's a celebration of a shared a love of music.  Respecting unique artistry and giving music pride of place. I guess only someone who truly loves music can shell out $50 for a brand new LP in a world of streaming and illegal downloading.

recors, vinyl, music

I decided to try it out for myself. As I was browsing and sifting through old records it felt strangely therapeutic. There was something about looking through these records, the feeling of triumph when you found a gem and that conciliatory concentration that completely empties your mind of all the noise. For a moment, you have some peace.

G R O W I N G  U P

I have been captivated by music for as long as I can remember. Growing up as a young black immigrant in Newcastle, music was one of the only ways I felt I had some control over myself and the many narratives surrounding people like me. A way I could rebel against the many stereotypes and identities that were being forced upon me. When I put my earphones in and listened to The Streets chanting "if you're going through hell keep going" suddenly I wasn't a dirty foreigner coming in and polluting the Great (white) Britain, I was just myself. Just Diana. 

Sinking into some Nina Simone and letting myself believe I too was belting smooth Jazz in the smoky bars of New Orleans and listening to Tupac's Changes, the beat accompanied by old football boots and childish laughter, offered me a brief respite from the world outside. A world where every day newspapers warned of immigrants swarming the country like pests galvanising the public to defend their country from being invaded by people like me, was pushed to a parallel distant world far away from where I was. Skip to a few years later and now I want to properly pay homage to the music that raised me and the music that held me in the dark. 

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I remember when I was still a shy schoolgirl, music played such an important role in my life. I would spend hours trawling the small music blogs and digging up buried soundtracks to make sure I had perfectly curated all the sounds I wanted. My iTunes library was a mecca, a carefully catalogued collation of all the sonic pieces of my life. As time has gone on, however music has lost the impact it ones had on me. With the dawn of streaming services like Spotify and Tidal, and of course, the many distractions and obligations life threw at me I didn't look for music like I used to. I took whatever came to me. Accepted whatever algorithm derived playlist was delivered to me, whatever new artist was being pushed on the radio. Of course, I still clung to my golden oldies but I'd lost the fire I'd once had for music. Now I want it back. So I grabbed a friend whose music taste I completely trust and went hunting for records to add to my collection. To find a home with me. 

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T H E  F I R S T  T I M E 

The first time I played a record I did feel something I hadn't anticipated. As Elvis Presley drawled Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' to an adoring crowd, I felt a certain warmness in my heart. I know it may sound a little pretentious but please believe me when I say I met the whole experience with a touch a scepticism. I carried a strong sense of apathy for all the old white guys yelling at young people saying 'they didn't know what real music sounded like until they'd heard it come out of a record player'. But it calmed me somehow. There's something about unsheathing a record, listening to one side and watching it spin, then flipping it over and doing it all over again. There's an active quality to it, something physical. Our new music that just consists of ones and zeros is a passive experience. We vegetate as songs are selected for us and queued. Vinyl is social. There's a personal quality to it. I would even go as far as to call it intimate. It settled something in my heart. 

That feeling is something I don't want to let go of.

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