Column: The vinyl revival, what goes around, comes around

Records are back...but did they ever go away?
Records are back...but did they ever go away?

There is no other sound in the world like that little static pop and click of when you place the needle on a record.

Believe me I’ve tried to find an equivalent, but nothing comes remotely close.

Depending on how loud you’ve set your volume knob on your record player, (and throughout my life I’ve repeatedly been told I have it too loud) that needle to vinyl sound is akin to a starting pistol signalling the beginning of your aural entertainment.

As a self-confessed record collector and vinyl addict, I can vouch for the lean times of the last few years when the halcyon days of record buying in the 60s, 70s and 80s were nothing but a distant and fading memory.

Pre-ebay, record buying had slipped to that of a past time reserved for drafty halls and records fairs that attracted an almost exclusively male clientele of a certain age.

I once took a girlfriend to a record fair who in her boredom very loudly declared that what was going on in that hall that day was just one step up from train spotting.

Alas, her outburst signaled the end of a once promising romance.

She is long gone and in another life that, presumably, is record free.

Meanwhile, I do still have and cherish the rare French single by The Who that I bought that day, so it wasn’t all bad.

Having come from an age when vinyl was the main mode of music consumption, and sticking devoutly to my personal mantra of: “never trust a musician who’s trying to sell you an album you can’t physically hold in your hand”, I was never one who was going to to openly embrace the downloading of music.

In fact I’ve only ever downloaded one track in my life...and that was because I wanted it as a ring tone on my mobile phone.

Some might scoff at my Luddite approach to digital music, and I’m happy with that, I’ll keep my technophobe persona, thanks.

But for any lover of vinyl, and it seems there were many of us in the shadows, record buying is once again popular.

The ‘physical format’ last year accounted for nearly 14 per cent of all sales in 2018, up from the eight per cent in 2016.

And industry experts are predicting it to continue for some time yet.

The increase, it must be said, is being driven largely by the nostalgic attraction of vinyl.

Just look at last year’s best selling albums which included The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Queen and Bob Marley, Nirvana, Prince and Amy Winehouse and Frank Sinatra.

Can you spot the link?

Anyhow, dead or not, it all spells good news for record buyers like me.

If you need any further proof that vinyl is back,take a walk down the ailing Kirkcaldy High Street.

While bigger names like M&S and Santander are pulling out, take a moment to welcome a small independent record shop that has recently opened down in the Merchant’s Quarter.

To some it may just be one step above train spotting...but, hey, that’s their loss.