Little rituals and simple pleasures


In recently promoting What’s on the kitchen boombox? and WTF? Random food for thought. from mere pages to their own separate blogs, I’ve been going over some of the deleted posts from the page days and finding some things that bear reviving. This originally ran as a WTF entry, but makes more sense as a boombox post.


I’ve often said of the vinyl in our music collection that if I could wave a magic wand and convert it all to CDs or mp3s, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Well, while there’s no magic wand, the technology exists to do just that. And I own it. But what with everything going on and my own natural inclination to procrastinate, I haven’t gotten around to doing anything with it.

So recently, with a song stuck in my head that we only have on vinyl—and that in fact may only exist on vinyl—I gave my turntable its first workout in a long time.

I’m a lover of little rituals. I love making martinis, for instance, even though I don’t much care for drinking them. The cocktail shaker, the martini glasses chilled in the freezer, a well chosen gin [the French brand Citadelle is a current favorite], the slightest splash of vermouth… all too grown up and elegant for words. Luckily for me, Marion does like the occasional martini, so I do get to make them for her once in a while.

And then there’s vinyl. Once pretty much the only way to hear recorded music, turntables and records have now become another cozy ritual for me. I tend to forget that, though, until some remembered piece of music forces my hand. Such was the case this weekend.

Just the act of removing the album from its sleeve, placing it on the turntable and swinging the tone arm over to cue up the track [imperfectly, I might add] all felt so comfortably familiar. As did the minor pops and crackles, somehow less irritating than I remembered them being.

Soon I found myself flipping through albums, hauling some out to play and promising myself to come back to others another day. And yes, occasionally wondering what the hell had possessed us to make some purchases. I ended up keeping the turntable going much of the afternoon, spinning through rare Coleman Hawkins, followed by Charles Mingus, followed by Randy Newman and Stan Getz and Devo and even a best of Patsy Cline album, a bargain bin find from who knows where.

As much as I enjoyed hearing these old friends, I enjoyed the ritual of the turntable just as much. Maybe even a little more so. In an age of CD changers, universal remotes and impossibly tiny, impossibly hip hard drives serving as portable private jukeboxes, there’s something nicely old school and physical about the act of putting a record on the record player and dropping the needle into the groove.

No, I’m not going to start buying vinyl again. There’s too much I like about digital. But once I’ve converted my vinyl to digital—so I can take it in the car, load it into my iPod, create tapeless “mix tapes”—I won’t be in any rush to get rid of it.

Back to Blue Kitchen

One Response to “Little rituals and simple pleasures”

  1. Old school jazz, saved by newfangled technology « What’s on the kitchen boombox? Says:

    […] of vinyl I can’t bring myself to part with yet, partly because of the simple pleasures of the ritual of the turntable]. Marion’s even found rare old opera albums at thrift stores that are currently waiting to be […]

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