Nadia Elkharadly: Like a Record Baby

Nadia LogoHappy New Year Don’t Believe a Word I Say!  I have a big announcement to make.  I’ve finally done it.  I’ve taken the plunge.  I’ve made the biggest commitment a girl can make, and I’ve never been happier.  You may be wondering what the hell I’m talking about, but isn’t it obvious?  Oh fine, I’ll just tell you:  I bought a record player.  I KNOW right???  What did you think I was talking about?  OH.  You silly romantic types.  Don’t you know that to a music lover, the collection of vinyl is the most intense relationship in the world.  My commitment to my burgeoning vinyl collection is the deepest commitment I may have ever made.  I’m not sure why I waited so long to make this financial and emotional investment in my musical collecting life, but I’m glad I finally did.

brianadamsThe first musical purchase I ever made as a kid was on cassette.  It was Bryan Adams: Waking up the Neighbours; what can I say, I was all about the Cancon from minute one.  I still have the first few grunge music cassettes I’d bought back then too; Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, and of course Soundgarden.  When my parents finally conceded to my begging and pleading and bought me a CD player, I started building the CD collection I have today, buying the music I already had on tape in this shiny new format, and devouring as much music as my piddly teenage bank account could subsidize.  And of course once the internet became common place, mp3’s became my musical format of choice.  It was so easy; I would realize I didn’t have a song or album, and I could just jump online and in minutes I could be listening to whatever it was I had been thinking of.  One thing these formats Discmanall had in common was their portability.  From the Walkman to the Discman to the mp3 player to the smartphone, whether it was tapes, CDs or mp3s, this music could go anywhere I went.  Whether I was on the way to school or work, walking down the street or riding the streetcar, I’d always have a musical soundtrack following me around my life.

When I was in university for media studies, we talked a lot about passive and active media intake.  Watching a television show while working on your laptop (like I may or may not be doing right at this very moment) would be considered passive watching.  Sitting in a dark movie theatre and watching a movie with no other distractions would be considered active watching.  In my new vinyl buying and record playing adventure, I’ve realized that these passive and active designations apply to the world of music listening as well.  When I was a teenager, my music listening was most definitely active.  I sat in my room with the cd booklets from every new CD I bought, I read lyrics, I listened intently to every note sung and played and let it take over my mind for as long as the album played.  But these days, my music listening is definitely passive most of the time.  I’m either driving in the car, walking or taking the TTC somewhere, working on some mind boggling spreadsheet at work, or editing photos or writing an article at home.  The common thread is the same; listening to music is always something I’m doing while doing something else.  That is, until I brought home my new record player.

I’m not sure why I hadn’t embraced the vinyl lifestyle before now.  Oddly enough it wasn’t ever something I’d thought about.  I’d seen vinyl in music store and on many a merch table at a show.  I’d heard people talk about their record collections, or inheriting albums from their parents to play on their restored vintage record players from the fifties and sixties, but for some reason it wasn’t something that I’d ever thought about wanting to do myself.  I already had music in a few different formats, and I’d always thought that with my already subpar hearing I wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference between the supposed beauty of analog sound, as opposed to the cold harsh thin digital sound I’d become used to.  I think it was when I saw my friend Emy hand Chris Cornell her vinyl “Jesus Christ Pose” Single (also featuring “Stray Cat Blues” and “Somewhere” – awesome) to sign that I thought “HEY!  If I had some Soundgarden vinyl I could ALSO be getting it signed right now!”  Instead, Cornell signed my arm, which was also awesome, but washed off.  But before it washed off, Emy and Bobby (our Corusent spirit guide and resident soundman) helped me convince myself that it was time to invest in a record player and some vinyl of my own.  Within a few weeks Bobby had Technics-SL-1210M5G_Top-Pagesourced a refurbished Technics player for me online and had turned me onto www.Discogs.com for my vinyl buying needs.  Several PayPal payments later, I was on my way to being an honest to goodness vinyl collector and next level music lover.

I’d bought the turntable from a local eBay seller, which meant I could pick up the player in person and take it home for my aural consumption all in one day.  I was so excited!  However, there was one wrinkle to my plan.  Even though I’d bought a few records online already (yes, the first purchase I made was a Soundgarden record, Badmotorfinger, I am that predictable), they hadn’t arrived yet, and I had nothing to listen to on my new record player.  The answer of course was to hit one of Bobby, and probably the entire city of Toronto’s favourite music shops Mike’s Music (105 Danforth Avenue).  Mike is a total music connoisseur and very kindly indulged my millions of questions and politely ignored my many gasps of shock and pleasure at the wonders I discovered in his shop.  He not only had all the classics any music lover could ever want, but newer albums and indie releases as well.  I proceeded to blow my monetary load on some pretty sweet vinyl, deciding to start with the basics; a little Zeppelin, some Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan and of course, Mr. Johnny Cash.  Take a gander at my very first record purchase: (I’m pretty proud of it).

recordcollectionThat afternoon I brought home my record player and my new records.  I set it up and put on Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, and for the first time in what’s felt like ages, I just sat down and listened to music.  I sat back on my couch, I leaned back and just listened to the beauty that is music on vinyl.  The Dylan record was fairly battered, but I loved it.  The fuzziness, the richness, and the oldness of the music that came out of my very modern speakers made for the most wonderful sound contradiction.  In a word, it was awesome.

What’s more awesome is that I am now discovering and rediscovering both new music and the music I’ve loved for years.  Thanks to EBay and Discogs I am building my teenage grunge music collection up in vinyl form.  Fellow Soundgarden fanatic Emy has loaned me some of her nineties vinyl to tide me over until my packages arrive, and I’ve had the most wonderful time listening to my old favourites in this new form.  I’m also willing to go villagevinylanywhere in search of a great record store.  My second find after Mike’s was Village Vinyl (2925 Lake Shore Blvd W), thanks to my buddy and new drum teacher Anthony Dell’Orso.  Much like Mike, the proprietors of this record store/café combination are not only knowledgeable but extremely accommodating of my newfound obsession, helping me find records I’m looking for or ones that they think I may like based on my taste.  Any recommendations of both records and record stores are most welcome!

I love music.  I don’t think I could ever stop loving music, even if I wanted to.  Unfortunately sometimes I find that I forget to enjoy music.  Because so much of my time in and around music is spent working, listening and discovering music often becomes more about the business of music, pure musical enjoyment doesn’t happen all that often.  I’m so glad that this new vinyl obsession is not only reminding me how much I love music, but is giving me the chance, is actually FORCING me to sit back, relax and just listen, and love music again.  Now I’ll be one of those hipsters talking about my records, lined-up at Dakota and Horseshoe merch tables buying my newest favourite indie band’s music on vinyl, and generally being insufferable in my musical knowledge and superiority.  I can’t wait.

Until next time,

Xo

N

=NE=

Nadia’s column appears every Tuesday

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

4 Responses to “Nadia Elkharadly: Like a Record Baby”

  1. Welcome to the Vinyl Corral, Little Missie. You of course disappointed me with your first purchases (outside of the Soundgarden), but I’m sure you will more than make up for it in the future. I have a mint- condition copy of Eagles Greatest Hits I would so like to get rid of, if you would like it, and a few others. I will send a list. Vinyl is a different world. I think you’ll like it here.

  2. haha well i’m glad you at least approved of soundgarden. and that’s so sweet of you, i will take whatever you think is polluting your collection off your hands (and i’ll be thrilled!) thanks so much 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on front of house photo graphy and commented:
    Adorable musings on becoming a vinyl nerd by my good friend Nadia E! I’m proud to be your enabler 😉

  4. […] had no records to play on it, took me to his favorite record store.  The experience turned into a column, as many did at that time in my life.  And there you were, not only reading my work, but providing […]

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