THERE ARE VERY FEW WAYS TO IMPRESS A VERY SOPHISTICATED WOMAN ~ TWELVE INCHES OF SHINY BLACK VINYL IS ONE
I don’t often spend my free time wandering around shopping malls, browsing, not wanting to buy anything in particular, not needing anything in particular. To be honest the only thing on my wish list is a classic V12 E-Type Jaguar convertible in Dark British Racing Green, and I’m not holding my breath. However, after browsing the smoking-hot and heavily made-up assistants prowling around the better cosmetics outlets, I went into a store I thought had closed. HMV, the record store, also known as His Master’s Voice, the place that still sells music and movies on physical media. And there, right there among the Blu-ray discs and overpriced DVD’s was a nugget. Right there in front of me was a veritable Gem of the first water. A Real Man is unable to resist something like that.
As well as thinking HMV had gone out of business, I also thought that nobody was making proper records anymore. Well, as it turns out they are. I bought myself a brand-new copy of Rumours. The seminal Fleetwood Mac album from 1977 on shiny black vinyl inside a decent sized sleeve, with the classic photograph of artist and dancer / muse in supplication on the front cover. Rumours is the 14th best selling album of all time, over 10 million copies had been sold by the end of 1978, and I didn’t have a copy, not on black vinyl I didn’t.
The tracks on this fabulous album are;
- Second Hand News
- Never Going Back Again
- Don’t Stop
- Go Your Own Way
- The Chain
- You Make Loving Fun
- I Don’t Want To Know
- Oh Daddy
- Gold Dust Woman
All of these tracks are massively commercial, and all of them have hearts of tortured dreams and unresolved jealousy. I know a good girl, I don’t know if she has heard Oh Daddy, perhaps she should.
So, given that I also have this album on compact disk and as downloaded digital files on various little boxes. Why another copy, on a fragile and unwieldy one-foot diameter piece of black vinyl, where the sound is generated by a process that is over two centuries old? Because it’s better is why.
The sound on a ‘proper’ record isn’t digitised, remastered, re-edited, or made up of miniscule chunks of ones and zeros. The sound you get from a proper record is analogue. Analogue is something the younger generation know nothing about. Analogue is full-fat, high protein, carbohydrate free, flash-grilled, 36 ounce, rib-eye steak to digital’s yeast protein burger. A Long-Playing 33 1/3 record, when played on a hugely expensive, hugely huge, hugely hot, power-hungry, high-fidelity system that has glowing valves and trailing wires to the massive speakers in the corner of the room, sounds ‘better’ than actually being there.
High fidelity analogue recorded music sounds heart-rending, emotionally good and real. Women are very auditory creatures. This album, played on a decent system, will make strong girls cry and even bring a lump to the throat of a very manly man. The driving bass of The Chain, which has the best guitar break of all time, the classic lyrics of Dreams, and the slow sad Oh Daddy story of unrequited love will melt the stoniest lady’s loins.
Face it guys, there’s not much a man can do that will actually impress a hot date. She has seen it all before, heard every line before, she’s been wooed by taller, better looking, richer, fitter guys than you. A hot date will have been inside more expensive restaurants than you’ve had cooked meals. She will have been driven there in cooler cars than yours by guys wearing Armani who can afford to buy her Chanel. If she has gone back to their place, it will have been bigger, cooler and better decorated than your garret. That guy’s bed-linen will be of the highest thread-count pure linen, cotton, silk or satin. He may even have better booze than yours. But, unless he is, actually, Mister James Bond, he will not have a decent record player.
Just putting a record on the deck, all of that shiny black vinyl reflecting the lights, has all of the simple elegance of a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. And, after the record goes around and around, the music goes up a sensual tone-arm, into a big and softly glowing amplifier, and then the music comes out all over your room. She will go silent, and just a little bit misty-eyed.
You have her at the first vocals of Second Hand News, and if you don’t have her at that, then you don’t want her. Trust me on this. If she doesn’t melt, then throw her back, no matter how hot she is.
In that case, why do so few men have high-fidelity record-players in their lonely garret?
At the end of the achingly beautiful track Songbird, you will discover why so few men have high-fidelity record-players these days. That’s the end of that side, the music stops, and perhaps all you get is the rhythmic shush ~ shush ~ shush as the needle tries not to track over the label in the middle of all that shiny black vinyl. A man has to leave his hot date, where ever they are and whatever they are doing, to turn over the damn record. Which can be inconvenient and break the mood a little. In addition, the things you need to play the things on are normally hugely huge and eat power like a hungry horse eating small carrots. You have to find some way to hide all the fat wires, the records themselves take up a lot of space, are expensive, fragile and these days difficult to get hold of.
In short, real records, on real high-fidelity record players, are just the sort of thing to impress a hot, sophisticated and worldly wise woman. A good hi-fi is as expensive, impractical, stylish, rare, inconvenient and uncomfortable as a pair of Christian Louboutin with 5 inch heels. And we all think they are very sexy. The big downside is, just like Christian Louboutin, Musical Fidelity is Expensive.
The solution for the end of the recording’s lonely shush ~ shush ~ shush? I have a remote for my amplifier and record deck. The digitised music is already set up on a computer. Without moving I can switch from hot foreground music to soft smooth jazz in the background. No worries.
A partial extract from the forthcoming book; Urban Survival Skills for Men