RICK JACKSON: Nothing beats the theatre of playing a vinyl record

Vinyl sales are at their highest ince 1988     (Shutterstock)
Vinyl sales are at their highest ince 1988 (Shutterstock)

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Wonderful news, vinyl sales in 2017 will be at their highest since 1988.

This is incredible when you consider how easy it is to download music these days.

There is something special about finding a record, placing it on the turntable and cueing it up to the beginning, waiting for the ‘wah-wah’ sound

Clearly, music fans miss having a physical product in front of them and find the digital sound either too clinical or too tinny, if you play it off a smartphone or tablet.

Back in 1988 you could choose between vinyl, cassette and the newest format, CD.

On them may have been Now That’s What I Call Music 13 or maybe Push by Bros, or the INXS album Kick.

With the physical copy also comes the all-important album artwork, like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.

There is also the theatre of playing a piece of vinyl.

Cleaning off the dust after you place it onto the turntable, manoeuvring the stylus over the beginning of the song, then letting the arm slowly drop on the counterweight. Magical.

Then you can really go overboard. Expensive turntables, do you go band drive or direct drive?

Which stylus? What’s the best amplifier/speaker combination?

Sadly my Rega Plana 3 is gathering dust in the loft. Sad times.

When I started my radio career back in 1993, vinyl was being phased out, but some older songs were being played off the good old studio record players on Golden Hour-type features.

Today, I have one screen in the studio, a glorified version of Apple Music if you like. On there is the full station record library, jingles, sweepers, adverts, you name it, it’s on there.

It also has mix editors, filters, compressors – it’s amazing.

But there is something special about finding a record, placing it on the turntable and cueing it up to the beginning, waiting for the ‘wah-wah’ sound as you pull back the turnable a quarter of a turn so the song doesn’t ‘wow’ up to speed when you lift the fader.

Yes, vinyl can be a faff, but the warmer, real, analogue sound and the whole theatre of it makes the faff worth every RPM!

HOPES DASHED OF A NEW GOSPORT–TO-RYDE FERRY

There was me getting all excited when on my Facebook feed I saw a post about a regular hovercraft service to Ryde from Gosport. Happy days, I thought!

When Hovertravel began back in the 1960s, a regular service ran from Stokes Bay, where the cafe is now, to Ryde.

This service would be great for me, I could pop over to see my folks for the afternoon.

Sadly, through lack of patronisation, the route finished by 1970. So is it coming back? Sadly not.

Hovertravel is running special charters to the Hovercraft Museum at Lee on Solent and you can only get on at Ryde or Southsea.

Good news for the Gosport Ferry and Wightlink then.

DICING WITH DEATH TO PUT UP THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

My life flashed before me as my wife decided she wanted icicle lights hanging from our gutters this year.

She bought some new lights four years ago for our old house in Priddy’s Hard.

There was no problem putting them up over the garage and front bay as new build houses have guttering at first floor level.

Not our 1930s-built house in Alverstoke. Out came the ladder, never used. Covered in slime and snails.

It wobbled almost uncontrollably as neighbours looked on, laughing. Not looking up, or down, I managed to hang 700 lights from our guttering.

They look lovely at night and will do for the rest of time, as there is no way on earth I’m going up that death trap again!