Thirty-Three and a Third

Thanksgiving this year was a great time for our family. We traveled out to the Carolina coast to spend the holiday with my brother and sister and their kids and had a fun and relaxing few days. On the Friday–Black Friday–we all went into the nearby village to explore and maybe do a little shopping. There was an antique shop on a little side street, so my wife (Laura) and daughter (Caroline) and I went in to see what was what.

We got separated for a bit as my girls poked around the back part of the shop while I checked out the merchandise by the front door. After a while, I went back where they were and found Caroline looking through a bin of record albums. “That’s cool,” I thought as she pulled one out and said it would be a perfect Christmas gift for her friend. Seeing the vinyl LPs brought back good memories and I loved that our girl was connecting with these artifacts.

Except it wasn’t an artifact. The album Caroline was holding was by the band Vampire Weekend and it was new. As in, recently released and still in its shrink wrap. I knew that turntables are still being made by a few companies, but I guess I figured they were for people who want to play their old albums. The fact that music still (or again?) is available on vinyl somehow had escaped me in this world of digital media. I must have been staring at the album, trying to work out why it was shrink wrapped, when Caroline asked if anything was wrong and I said no, no, looks like a good album and your friend will like it I’m sure and why in the world is it shrink wrapped?

So my daughter brought me up to speed on record albums and how you play them on a turntable.

Let’s see. An antique shop that, along with the old and the vintage, carries new objects that resonate with an old and vintage vibe. In a sense, the old and vintage are the same as the new, at least in terms of form and function–if not actual content.

But even that is covered in the case of a long-time artist or band that releases a new album on vinyl along with CD and digital versions. I could buy Eric Clapton’s or Keb Mo’s newest work on vinyl and then play it on my old turntable that I think must be somewhere out in the garage.

Christmas is just a few days away and maybe Santa is reading this. I can dream.

Douglas R. Kelly is a little freaked out by the fact that he’s nostalgic for something that’s still around.

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