Playing a record is one of those rare things - an action that never fails to please me. Like getting into a warm bath, or having the first cup of tea in the morning, putting an album onto the turntable is something that I love. As soon as the needle hits the vinyl, announcing itself with that reassuring bump and crackle that has been with me for some 35 years, I am in paradise. CDs, shiny, pleasant and convenient as they are, can't hold a candle to that fantastic black plastic.
My first album, The Essential Beatles, was part of a swap deal with a mate. The first LP I actually paid money for was Touch Me by Gary Glitter. A title which, given Mr Glitter's recent history, could be construed as being a little creepy now... My collection grew after I helped myself to my father's collection of original Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, PJ Proby and others' 45s, and was further augmented with astute purchases made possible by Christmas monies. As a Beatles' fan I spent most of my disposable income in my teenage years on fab four records, before having my head turned by punk, mod, soul and blues recordings. I missed a few years when the compact disc arrived, but it wasn't too long before I was trawling around the second-hand shops, looking for vinyl treasures. Something I still do.
The joy of artwork, lyrics, inner sleeves, the warm crackle, the jumps and scratches, are things belonging to a bygone era, never to prevail again.
I still have all my records, hundreds and hundreds of them, and I love them. I play them often.
Sometimes I like to just hold them. Joy.