The Murder Barn:
The TVD First Date

“In the corner of the lounge sat my Dad’s stereo system. It was out of bounds for so long, but eventually we were allowed to orbit it. Allowed to touch it. Allowed to run our fingers through the velvet of the record cleaner, and most importantly, we were allowed to handle, very carefully, the wonderful, musty smelling discs of vinyl that had for so long been out of reach.”

“My first vinyl love was Tijuana Sound Of Brass. My Dad, being a classical buff, had everything from the Madrigals of Monteverdi, to modern British composers like Walton and all in-between. However these records bore no interest to me. There was no drums. The thing about Tijuana Sound of Brass was that it had drums. I could dance around the room to it. It made everything else disappear. When it was on, all that was there was “Spanish Flea,” “The Lonely Bull,” or a “A Walk In The Black Forest.” I was obsessed with that record and couldn’t wait to buy my own.

So obviously when my Brother and I were given our own stereo system in the spare room, I went straight out and bought Status Quo 12 Gold Bars Vol I & II. I still have no idea why. I don’t think I’ll ever know. But I fucking loved that record. “Living on an Island,” “Mystery Song,” “Paper Plane,” “Down Down” were played daily. Although I never listened to “Caroline” or “The Wanderer.”

After Status Quo things moved very quickly. My Uncle who lived in Saudi Arabia, sent back 4 pirated AC/DC records. High Voltage, Back In Black, Highway to Hell and Powerage. Anyone who remembers the quality of pirate cassettes will tell you, that after repeated listens, the tape began to stretch, the audio quality became increasingly dull, and eventually they went to shit. I still have those cassettes in a box in my loft. They are my badge of honour. The same Christmas, my brother had been given a Shakin’ Stevens record. How differently life could’ve been if all I’d had was “This Ole House” instead of “T.N.T” or “Hells Bells.”

As I got older, the way I was exposed to music changed. There was always the record swapping with friends, my copy of Somewhere In Time in exchange for Girls Girls Girls or Denim and Leather. But then I started going to Maidstone’s premier record shops after school. There were two. The Longplayer on the High Street, and Plastic Surgery in Union Street. The former always had a stack of cheap and reduced 12″ just inside the door. I used to thumb through them and pick a couple if I liked the artwork. This introduced me to loads of artists from Joe Jackson to RainTreeCrow (David Sylvian).

The Longplayer, although useful for its back catalogue of good music, held nothing of the cool of Plastic Surgery however. That was where I first saw the cover of Maggotbrain by Funkadelic. The first place I heard “Been Caught Stealing” by Janes Addiction, the first place I saw records by Sonic Youth, The Pixies, Belly, Charlatans, frankly the list is endless.

The way we all experience music has changed so much over the past 10yrs. To think that even 10-11yrs ago the CD was still king, iTunes had not yet reared it’s futuristic head, and compilation CDs and tapes were still passed around friends with an air of “check this shit out, your life will become better.”

In today’s day and age, you try before you buy. You buy the tracks you like off an album, and leave the rest on the shelf. Almost like buying “The Scream” by Munch, and leaving the top lefthand corner behind. Art that is sweated, bled out and suffered over, is split, packaged, and treated with little respect. This is why my record player inhabits my lounge in the same way my Dad’s did when I was a kid. I still get a kick out of taking out a record, placing it gently on the turntable, turning it on, letting the velvet cleaner gently remove any specks of dust, and then lowering the arm until that reassuring sound of the meeting of needle and record occurs.

Hearing music in its true glory. Over and over again.”
Matt Jones

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