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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Vinyl: A new spin on a classic for music lovers

Let me start off by saying I’m a massive music buff.

I co-owned a record shop on the Mid-North Coast, while a journalist for the local paper, and caught up with everyone from Midnight Oil main man Peter Garrett to Jimmy Barnes, successful duo Savage Garden to the late great Marc Hunter of Dragon fame over the years.

I’ve even gone out for drinks with Kate Ceberano, interviewed Icehouse frontman Iva Davies one-on-one in a dingy Port Macquarie motel, and spent a couple of nights on tour with The Cockroaches (before they hit multi-million sales status as children’s entertainers The Wiggles).

Newcastle Weekly journalist Rod Thompson (top row, second from left) with The Cockroaches – before they became The Wiggles.

Those unique opportunities also gave me an excuse to drag out my precious LPs for each of them to sign.

So, imagine my delight on hearing that the good, old turntable was among the most popular presents in the lead-up to Christmas 2020.

Major chains like JB Hi-Fi, Aldi, Big W, Bunnings and, even, Australia Post could not keep up with the demand for the “prodigious players” – and their 33, 45 and 78 RPM (rotations per minute) counterparts.

That’s right, it seems we’re heading back to the future.

And, don’t the masses love it?

Sharing my joy of vinyl’s valiant return is Kellie Jackson, owner of The Mosh Pit for almost a decade.

The owner of The Mosh Pit, in Cardiff, Kellie Jackson.

The independent store in Main Street, Cardiff, specialises in second-hand albums while the latest material arrives every week, too.

“I’m thrilled to see the interest remains,” she said.

“I think there’s always been a resurgence in records but it’s great to witness new people finding out about them, especially kids.

“It opens the door for another generation.

“Even though our demographic is between 35 and 70 years, you’re never too young to appreciate music in its purest form.”

Ms Jackson admitted “nostalgia” played a huge role in the current revival, too. 

“I guess people are sick of things like Spotify; or downloading just one song,” she said.

“A record is something you can hold or look at – it’s tangible.

“Some [people] also enjoy reading the dust covers.

“A lot of them went back to it [vinyl] during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“You could put on an LP and dance in your lounge room to forget about your worries, play it when you did housework or listen to music while you soaked in the bath.

“For each individual, it’s a different reason, which is great.

“It’s funny, many people are shocked record stores are still around.

“But, we were run off our feet recently.

“Record players were popular, as were albums – from Alice in Chains to David Bowie, PJ Harvey to new artists.

“Thankfully, vinyl is much cheaper these days [in terms of inflation]; and that’s one of its appeals.”