Tellison:
The TVD First Date

“So, my parents are not into rock music. They’re big classical music aficionados. My Ma was even a professional singer for a while, but—and I can’t stress this point enough—they are NOT into rock music.”

“As such I think my journey to becoming a writer, singer, and (terrible) rhythm guitar-player of rock songs just about follows the classic, “Let’s do something that my parents don’t do or understand” curve. And yet…at the same time as the above, you could trace it all back to my Mum’s record player in the corner of our living room; my Dad’s collection of 1960s pop 45s and LPs and my Mum’s collection of classical music.

When my aunty was a kid she won a “Home Entertainment System” on a children’s quiz show on the radio. In my mind it was something like J. D. Salinger’s “It’s A Wise Child”. In reality it almost certainly wasn’t. Anyhow, by the late ’80s and early ’90s this combination radio, cassette, and record playing monstrosity in burnished aluminium, glass, formica, and fake wood had ended up in my parent’s living room. It came with its own floor-to-ceiling bookshelf for storing your records and tapes and there was even a small, fur-lined compartment that stored two microphones which you could plug in and record to tape or use to sing over your favourite songs.

It was completely awesome. I was 5 and I was in love.

I’m a bit of a nightmare as a person, I think. The same could definitely be said of me as a child. I was, and am clumsy, awkward, accident-prone, and unlucky. As such, the entire area of the living room that housed all this bounty was basically forbidden to me. I remember on one occasion being discovered sitting on the floor surrounded by records I had removed from their sleeves and then discarded. Things didn’t go very well for me that afternoon.

I am a persistent pest however and slowly (we’re talking years here) I wrested occasional control of the record player and its accessories from my parents. And maybe this is the point in my life where, if asked, I could say, “THIS is where it all went wrong, this is where the bad thing happened.”

I spent days and weeks and months for years listening to every record we owned. From The Beatles to Puccini, Prokofiev back to The Dave Clark Five. My all-time, top 100, greatest, most favourite record ever though was Allan Sherman’s “The Mexican Hat Dance.” This was on a black vinyl 45 backed with “Won’t You Come Home Disraeli?” and I listened to it literally thousands of times. My dad still has the record which he basically confiscated after it warped from over-playing, and which I continued to listen to. Seriously. I love that record. I could listen to it maybe forever.

Years and years later I formed a band and we started releasing records. And every time a piece of vinyl finds its way into my hands I find myself, maybe just for a fleeting moment, back in my parents’ living room furtively slipping some old 45 from its waxy paper sleeve, carefully placing the needle, and then jumping up and down on the floor with glee (so much so the records would usually skip and scratch and suffer) because—and I think we can all agree on this much at least, it’s basically magic isn’t it? ”
Stephen Davidson

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