Old Habits

Posted on June 26, 2014

I restarted an old habit these past few weeks. Vinyl records.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I already have about 1000 vinyl albums. I got out of the habit when CD’s got big (about 500 of those) and I dropped CDs for the most part when audio streaming went mainstream.

I have a Spotify account and a Pandora account, but increasingly music has become a background thing; something to listen to while doing other things.This is probably the way most people listen to music.

However, there was a time for me when music was the thing.

Not an addition to, but the thing. An album was a treasure,  a direct link between me and a band. They had something to communicate to me and I needed to stop and listen. Anything less would just be rude.

I lost some of this with CDs because I could cram 5 of them into a changer and just play. I got even farther away from it when digital music became the norm. There’s something about access to every track ever… It’s a little like Ikea: when it’s cheap and pervasive, it’s easier to take for granted, just passively absorb like background noise. No attachment and no history.

It’s especially odd for me as a wood worker. There is a huge movement right now around hand tools and heirloom furniture. The idea that the thing you create is important enough to pass down, not just use and discard. It’s not just utilitarian ephemera, it’s an expression of it’s creator. It’s a moment in time.

It seems to me that there are pieces of history that are just simply transitional. They get us from point A to point B. They serve a purpose, without question, but they are not the stories we tell our children. They are the things that happen between History (big H).

And then there are pieces of History; expressions of self, slices of time and moments of wonder.

Stop right now and think. Which of your moments are the heirlooms you will pass to your children and which are just transitions and ephemera.

I am listening to Matt Pond PA’s “Several Arrows Later” on 180 gram vinyl. What are you doing?