Sunday 24th JulyJuly 25, 2011
Today was a day for me. I woke late, read the paper (digitally) before getting out of bed, and then spent the majority of the day recharging well worn batteries by sitting in the garden reading (Beckett, who has recently become a real obsession again) and my only trip out was to get food for dinner. Until talking to Julie for a bit on the phone tonight I don’t think I spoke a word all day. I did manage to listen to some music when I came in from the garden this evening, but it was mostly taken from the pile of old vinyl that I have been listening to on Sundays. A really dodgy recording of Mahler’s first was awful, and I didn’t enjoy Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite much, but the disc of quartets by Mendelssohn and Schumann surprised me by being really very lovely, the Schumann in particular, whose music I hadn’t cared for much on the occasions I had bumped into it on the radio. Its odd listening to music on old vinyl like this. Apart from a sensation of freedom I feel, perhaps borne out of the far that I don’t feel obliged to have an opinion on the music or have to write about it, listening here does feel like tapping into the past somehow. On these old vinyl records names appear I don’t know, liner notes (when even written in English) feel like they belong to another time, and its a nice feeling to imagine who may have owned these records before me. The Mendelssohn/Schumann disc for instance was released two years before my birth. The design on the back cover, carefully typeset by hand in several languages and alphabets looks beautiful, but there are indentations in it where somebody has used it as a rest as they handwrote something on a different piece of paper laid on top. I wonder whose writing this might be, how many owners has this record had before it appeared in Bath’s Oxfam shop? Did it have just the one owner, who might recently have passed on, for his surviving relatives to take it to the charity shop as they had no use for it? How many times in its forty-two year lifespan has it been played? Its in immaculate condition, though the way the inner plastic sleeve clung to the vinyl it looks like it hasn’t been set free for many years. I wonder what stories the record could tell about those that have owned it. In some ways records do reflect their own history as they pick up scratches down the years, but this disc is spotless. Perhaps it lived a very clean life. A better post tomorrow.