My friend John got a new turntable for Christmas, and he's really excited about all the new records he got, too. Here's the thing: literally no one in the world with an actual brain gives a fuck about the sanctity of vinyl. Being "into" vinyl is like being into square dancing or knitting or marbles or crushing butterflies into books for reasons of preservation or stuffing yourself into an inflatable latex suit and getting fingered in a pool: it's fine if you're into it, but don't bore the rest of us.
There's nothing wrong with buying vinyl. And sure, we should all support artists and independent shops as much as we can, because the big corporations with their football-field-sized factories are the devil incarnate. And yep, vinyl can sound really good on a properly calibrated system, and, yeah, it is nice to have a few choice-looking 12"s on your coffee table plonked next to a Phaidon book of Soviet architecture and a fancy candle, but…that's it.
Vinyl is nice in the same way apple crumble is, or bubble baths are. It's something that's just there—like oak trees, syphilis, and Anthony Costa. Its absence in the world, should the unthinkable happen, would go unnoticed. Except by guys with brown shoes and beards who linger by the counter hoping that the waif sliding their 12" into it's paper sleeve will be so overcome by lust at the sheer sight of the carefully selected set of records she's been presented with—the new ones on Sex Tags Mania, L.I.E.S, etc—that she'll come out from behind the register and slip them her new number by the new dub-techno section. These are the men who talk in hushed tones about pressings, and fidelity, and authenticity. These are the men who've ruined vinyl for the rest of us.
These are the men who play jazz fusion sets to three people in pubs on Sunday nights. These are the men who talk in hushed tones about pressing plants. These are the men who have an intimate knowledge of Rashad Becker's output. These are the men who wear camoflague jackets. These are the pious men of east London who won't go away. These are the men who fucking love vinyl, yeah?
If the statistics are to be believed, HMV alone sold a turntable a minute over the Christmas period. Which means a lot of us will have a pal like the friend above, the friend who just got a new turntable, and won't stop banging on about vinyl as if the medium you choose for listening to music means a single fucking thing in the face of the unceasingly brutal universe we find ourselves flailing in.
Imagine, for a second, having a friend who chews your ear off at a bar about how great the new lossless file he downloaded from Boomkat sounds playing through his brand new Sonos wireless set up. Imagine, too, having a buddy who looks you dead in the eye and tells you—over a foaming, nut brown pint of ale on a cold Tuesday night—that "CDs are the only way to listen to music properly." Imagine it. Imagine having those sorts of people in your life. You'd chuck them faster than—Christ, it's too early in the year to think of funny similes. The point is, turntable and vinyl fetishism makes about as much sense as any other fetish—ie, none— but has precisely zero conversational interest. It's a dead end, and the easiest way to make yourself known to the world as exactly the kind of boring idiot who thinks that music is anything other than a mere diversion from the utter shittiness of life.
Still, enjoy the new turntable, man.