Grace Gillespie,
The TVD First Date

“A collection of vinyl is particularly interesting because as much as you will have supplied the bulk of the records, there are always additions that have been left behind by a sibling, an old boyfriend, a friend who came round to listen to the new Hendrix and then got so high he forgot to take it home.”

“I grew up with my Dad’s collection. But, in that collection there were records belonging to his sister, old friends, and of course my mum… and her friend or ex or even her dad. A digital library is so personal, perhaps too personal, it has lost the social aspect that vinyl demands. You don’t accidentally leave an album in someone’s Spotify library. You only add exactly what you want to hear. And if, by some horrible twist of fate you find your boyfriend has managed to save a load of music onto your downloads and then leaves you for your colleague—you can just quickly un-save it and never have to think about them or their questionable taste every again.

But, you wouldn’t chuck out someone’s vinyl. You might listen to it with your new boyfriend and laugh at it (and them) but you wouldn’t bin it—unless it’s the Surfing Bird record and then you must smash it with a sledgehammer in the garden and hide the evidence from Peter. Generally an album you hate or mildly dislike or just simply don’t remember buying just goes to the back of the pile. As time passes you collect more and you keep the past. In my digital library I delete the past with disgust quite regularly. And it’s a shame.

Back to my dad’s collection. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and thankfully managed to not get too affected by some of my primary school friends listening to The Spice Girls or Britney, genius as they arguably are. I listened to what my parents listened to for a really long time, and to be honest I listen to those same artists still. I remember the covers of the records that I really liked as a child: Hot Rats by Zappa is particularly vivid I think because the cover is somewhat scary. The Sgt. Pepper’s cover is of course iconic but I liked it because I saw it as a kind of Where’s Wally?. Dylan’s Desire is also very clear still—it’s a beautiful image and a magical album and I liked it as a child because it had lots of references to children and family and also had a song on it that was (nearly) my mum’s name.

There are a lot of amazing and timeless records in dad’s collection, but then there would be stuff that I would pick out that he was (very) quick to claim were not his! Some of them mum also denied buying. Mysterious ’80s records: “No no I would never have laid my hands on that, I would have been a laughing-stock…” So then we dig around in the past trying to remember the time that someone left their George Michael next to Captain Beefheart. Or why is there a Simply Red single next to The Incredible String Band? Or whether mum did actually buy a Gary Glitter record or whether a boyfriend gave it to her, and whether it was possible to only listen to Al Green for all of the ’80s and pretend you wouldn’t go near a disco, but maybe there is some Bee Gee’s here somewhere… And then dad’s just found that someone has snuck a Smiths record in and he is genuinely about to throw it out the window. No f***ing Morrissey in my house!

So vinyl was a big part of my life when I was very young and I didn’t think about it much. It was just there—a load of colourful dusty images that gently made their imprint on me. I didn’t think it was a good or a bad way to listen to music, I didn’t appreciate it more than the tapes or CDs we had, it was just how it was. I didn’t even touch the records—dad was in charge of that—so I just listened and insisted that I only liked fast songs and asked questions about why the Rolling Stones were always singing about their ‘baby’ and what was it that Christy Moore was ‘doing’ against the wall.

Then I didn’t think about records for 10 years or so until I had escaped sixth form and Gucci Mane and got to uni. And then it all starts again and I would pick up the odd thing here and there and find weird records in charity shops. Now in London we have my partner’s dad’s collection mixed with some of mine…some of his…some random freebies I have picked up along the way, not to mention my own vinyl EP “Pretending.”

It’s not quite the same though. The bulk of what I listen to is online and I am sorry for it. Thinking about it now, it’s something I should change. It’s such a lovely way to mark time and to remember events and people you would otherwise forget. I don’t want to buy them online though, I am going to wait until we are allowed out again (COVID-19) and then go to my favourite record shop in Totnes, Drift Records,and buy records to mark this strange time of confinement. I will buy Designer by Aldous Harding, Titanic Rising by Weyes Blood, Crushing by Julia Jacklin, Small Mercies by PIXX, and Welcome Home by Hannah Cohen and Buck Meek and Big Thief and Sorry’s new record and Westerman’s and Bedouine…

Hopefully they will have them in stock—if not then it just wasn’t meant to be and I will pick up something else and try to always remember it as the record I got by chance when I was hoping to find something else on my way home to my parents house after 11 weeks of solitary confinement. Can you tell I’m not allowed outside from the way I have written this? Quite possibly.”
Grace Gillespie

“Goodbye,” the new single from Grace Gillespie is in stores now.

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