In recent days our eyes have been opened a little wider to harsh reality.
Rock stars may no longer be the paragons of morality they were in the days of Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry. Canada may now suck at hockey and curling. Ottawa’s LRT may experience delays. A working vacation with family can go awry, even for the best of us. We should have got the flu shot. The Montreal Expos are no closer to that first pitch.
And Tom Cochrane continues to tour.
Yes, it may seem like there is little reason to be cheerful. Even the notion of the world’s self-proclaimed greatest democracy being headed by a racist, misogynist blaggard (I could go on) no longer seems amusing — if it ever was. (It wasn’t –ed.) Meanwhile, the potential for the Ontario PC leadership race to provide a welcome distraction suffered a severe blow when the party stopped accepting nominations before Eugene Melnyk, Christy Natsis and Jian Ghomeshi could throw their hats in the ring.
In such times, I invariably turn to my record collection for solace. At the moment, that means rather a lot of Hank Williams — for nothing puts a smile on one’s face like the pitiful musings of a man who died of drink and drugs before his 30th birthday. That could change, but for now he ain’t gonna leave. At least, not until Audrey starts to sing.
All of which is to say I am grateful for the return of vinyl.
During the dark days of CDs (Remember CDs?) I lost sleep worrying that future generations might never fully understand what “You spin me right round… like a record” truly means. Countless wedding receptions could have been ruined, had vinyl not held its ground.
(Speaking of vinyl on the ground, the return of the record has presented hipster environmentalists with a genuine dilemma. But, again, this post is about being cheerful.)
I spent many years advocating for vinyl’s return to prominence, daring even to reveal the dastardly means employed by major labels to force CDs upon unsuspecting listeners. I confess that I did not and do not endorse the $40 LP in the age of the $15 CD. But, uh, I still support vinyl records, in principle.
Let us, then, take a moment to consider the myriad reasons to welcome vinyl records back into our homes. (Or, in my case, to justify having kept my records when all around were losing theirs.) Again, I could go on, please allow me to present four reasons to celebrate vinyl’s remarkable ability to get up after having fallen:
Future generations can appreciate Guy Lafleur’s disco hockey instruction album as it was meant to be heard. (If you, dear reader, play for either the Habs or the Sens and have access to a turntable, I strongly recommend tracking down a copy and taking notes. “When stickhandling, carry the puck near the heel of the stick for control,” for a start.)
You can now once again believe those 78s that have been in the family for generations are worth money. They aren’t, of course, and you still do not have anything to play them on. They are, however, surely worth more than they were a decade ago.
With the return of the 12-inch-square palette, Roger Dean can again find work.
A new golden age for heavy metal is surely imminent, even as Slayer prepares to take a final bow. The digital age has not been kind to metal; even death metal bands had little reason to smile. What, after all, is the point of inserting Satanic messages into your songs if no one can play the music backwards? Now, thank God, the Prince of Darkness can reclaim what was once his.
Let’s face it, there has never been a better time for Satan to make a comeback. I say enjoy the soundtrack while it lasts.