Some time ago I joined the MP3 generation. My i-pod is a constant companion and my computers all contain seriously large quantities of music culled from CD's, downloads and the like. The most notable absentee has been the music held on my even more serious collection of LP's. That's just been collecting dust in a cupboard, resisting the switch to the joys of our digital age.
That is, until today. I was on my way back to the station when I passed Maplin Electronics in the Strand. I had a few minutes to kill so I thought I'd have a quick look round. In a second I spotted it. A thing of beauty: an ion USB turntable. And nearly half price to boot. For those of my loyal readers this is a record deck which can be connected to a USB port on your computer. It includes software that allows old scratchy analogue recordings (even 78's) to be converted to an MP3 file. And the software, moreover, incorporates facilities that allows you to edit out some of the noise and scratches that appear on even the most carefully looked after LP (and mine assuredly are not).
So to work. Straight off the blocks came a classic not heard in years: Simple Minds New Gold Dream, to be followed by Spirit of '76 by Spirit and maybe the Best of UB40 or Kimono my House by Sparks. A nostalgia packed evening in short. There were teething problems to be sure. To begin with the software does not automatically "clock" the gaps between tracks: you have to do that yourself. Secondly I discovered the whole process has to be done in silence. As I rolled back the years with Simple Minds' "Someone Somewhere in Summertime" the parallel conversation I was having with my wife about bringing in the washing came through loud and clear. So that was one particular "remix" despatched straight to the delete bin.
The third problem is less one of teething. In 40 years I think its fair to say that my taste in music has been prone to some serious lapses in taste. These will return to haunt me in the weeks to come. I am already asking myself what it was about the Police's "Ghost in the Machine" that could have persuaded me to part with my hard earned money. Other similar horrors lie in wait............