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No One Gives A Toss About Your New Turntable, Mate

Vinyl's great, obviously, but please, please, please stop talking about it.

by Josh Baines
07 January 2016, 2:20pm

What's that, pal, you want to show me your record collection, too? Go on then. Yeah, I like vinyl too. I like playing vinyl records on my new turntable, mate, and don't you forget it. The good thing about vinyl is that it sounds all crackly and warm, mate, and it's more expensive than other formats and things that are expensive are inherently good aren't they, mate? I too love nothing more than ambling down to the record shop and buying a record with two songs on it for a tenner. It makes me feel alive, mate. If I'm being honest it's one of the very few thrills I've got left. Mate, that's a really nice collection of records you've got there, do you want to play them to me on your new turntable? Thanks mate. I personally find that records always sound better played on a turntable, mate. It's got that warmth, you see, the turntable and record combo. Warmth, mate, warmth. I've got to go, actually mate, need to nip into Phonica for the new Willie Burns record, on vinyl, to play on my turntable. Sorry, mate. Enjoy your new turntable, mate!

Sorry about that. My mate John got a new turntable for Christmas and he's really excited about his new vinyls. 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 morris dancing or cheese rolling or marbles or crushing butterflies into books for reasons of preservation or stuffing yourself into an inflatable latex suit and getting fingered in a paddling pool: it's fine if you're into it but don't bore the rest of us.

Nice new turntable, mate.

There's nothing wrong with buying vinyl per se, and yes we should all support artists and independent shops as much as we can because the big megacorps with their ten-football-pitch-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 Diptyque candle and a funny Clipper lighter, but....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. It's absence in the world, should the unthinkable happen, would go unnoticed. Except by blokes 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 hops over to the other side and gives them a jolly good seeing to 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 mate like the mate above, the mate who just got a new turntable actually, mate, and won't stop banging on about vinyl as if the medium you choose to listen to music via means a single fucking thing in the face of the unceasingly brutal universe we find ourselves flailing in.

Nice new turntable, mate.

Imagine, for a second, having a mate who chews your ear off down the pub 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 mate 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 mates. You'd chuck them faster than, Christ, it's too early in the year to think of funny similies. The point is, turntable and vinyl fetishism makes about as much sense as any other fetish—i.e. 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 tosser who thinks that music is anything other than a mere diversion from the utter shitness of life.

The thing with fetishes is that fetishes are suddenly socially acceptable and people put them in their Twitter bios now and because people who earnestly put their actual interests in their Twitter bio are lower than pondscum, the people who put the most boring fetish in the world—being into vinyl—in their Twitter bio are two rungs below the people lower than pondscum on the evolutionary ladder. Sorry, but these are just facts.

Still, enjoy the new turntable, mate.

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