These days most of us are getting our music online. I must confess myself to downloading most of my music. I rarely buy the album, unless it is one that I have been looking forward to for a while and want to fully absorb the artistic experience. In my defence, I have kids. Little boys. They are notorious for destroying things, and CD's do not fare too well against little boys. Vinyl fares even worse.
As I write this, I see my son playing on an ipad, my younger son is asleep, but I am twiddling on the computer. In the corner of the room are two guitars, one violin and a piano. Nobody is playing them. They are collecting dust while we diddle away on technology. This is why record store day is important.
I want my kids to know about music. I want them to know where it came from. I want them to know that it wasn't always something that came out of the computer. It is made with instruments and recorded, so future generations can look back see how it was done. I want my kids to learn that music recorded onto vinyl, played on a record player, sounds so so much better that anything on an ipod.
I have such fond memories of listening to my parents' records as a child. My most favourite record was Leonard Cohen's debut album 'Songs of Leonard Cohen'. I fell in deeply love with it. (It's probably no surprise then that I named my first son Cohen, my younger son is named Donovan, also after a vinyl love affair). His voice was so velvety and smooth and soothing. The record was old and crackly but it added to the music so well, complimenting it. That is the best part about vinyl, the beautiful imperfections.
When I stumbled upon Jack's official statement (below) as the 2013 Record Store Day Ambassador, my crush went from really bad to off the charts.
His statement is such a good reminder for us, in this technical day and age. While we must embrace the new stuff and be grateful for it, it is still important to honour the beauty of the old stuff too.
Zero? How could that be possible? Then I got realistic and thought to myself, "Can you blame them?" How can record shops (or any shop for that matter) compete with Netflix, TiVo, video games that take months to complete, cable, texting, the Internet, etc. etc? Getting out of your chair at home to experience something in the real world has started to become a rare occurrence, and to a lot of people, an unnecessary one. Why go to a bookstore and get a real book? You can just download it. Why talk to other human beings, discuss different authors, writing styles and influences? Just click your mouse. Well here's what they'll someday learn if they have a soul; there's no romance in a mouse click. There's no beauty in sitting for hours playing video games (anyone proud of that stop reading now and post your opinion in the nearest forum). The screen of an iPhone is convenient, but it’s no comparison to a 70mm showing of a film in a gorgeous theater. The Internet is two-dimensional…helpful and entertaining, but no replacement for face-to-face interaction with a human being. But we all know all of that, right? Well, do we? Maybe we know all that, but so what?
Let's wake each other up.
The world hasn't stopped moving. Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on. Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet. So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication? We know better. We should at least. We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others. The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn't know that it's a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there. You put the record in their hands. You make them drop the needle on the platter. Then they'll know.
Let's wake each other up.
As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013 I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves.
Let's wake each other up." - Jack White.
See what I mean? " Sighhhh....He's such a dreamboat"
If you are in Wellington (like me) you can head to Slow Boat Records on Cuba street, or check out this list to see all participating stores in NZ.
Happy Record Store Day!