When I was but a mere slip of a lad in Lowestoft, I used to hop on the bus on a Saturday afternoon with my mate Michael King, and head off to Gorleston.
This was not for the sheer joy of being in Gorleston, dizzying though that undoubted pleasure might have been. Gorleston was, after all, dangerously close to Yarmouth – hated rival of Lowestoft (many years later, as a sub-editor on this very paper, I used to cross the word Great out of reporters’ copy, and tell them: “There’s nothing Great about Yarmouth”).
No. Me and Mike used to head off on these reckless and wild adventures because in Gorleston there was ... a really good secondhand record shop. There we would peruse rack upon rack of black plastic, seemingly limitless bins of singles, and row after row of albums, hunting for vinyl treasure.
I say treasure, but worth and value didn’t really come into it. For us it was the simple joy of discovery, of rooting out additions for our burgeoning record collections, finding stuff we didn’t have by artists we liked, and maybe taking the plunge on interesting-looking bands we didn’t know.
I suppose these days youngsters would simply subscribe to Spotify, and listen to whatever they want to online, without even leaving their bedroom. The trouble is, the keen enthusiast soon amassed a collection that, well, threatened to take over the house. You get older, life intervenes, priorities change ... and then the CD arrives, offering wholesale space solutions.
Then the mp3 comes along, trumping even that – your entire music collection can simply live in your computer! How handy is that?
And suddenly you feel slightly foolish for having this enormous vinyl collection. Yet somehow you can’t ever bring yourself to get rid of it. After all, you never did manage to replace all of it on CD or mp3 – there was so much of it, how could you? So the more obscure old favourites have become trapped in a vinyl dungeon, unreachable since you sacrificed your hi-fi on the altar of convenience.
One day you’ll go through it all, and transfer this imprisoned vinyl onto mp3. But somehow you never do ... I’m just guessing, but maybe because the sheer enormity of the task is simply terrifying.
And then ... vinyl makes a comeback! The dinosaur music format is suddenly trendy again! Astonishingly, the vast quantities of black plastic that were unceremoniously relegated to the attic are now today’s must-have items! Even more astonishingly ... overnight you’ve suddenly become “cool!”
Yes, OK, it doesn’t alter the fact that size-wise, its a tad impractical. Or that a record player really would be handy to listen to it. But do you know what? It tells me that not getting round to doing something pays dividends in the end!