An ode to vinyl and my stroll down memory lane

“Music is a vehicle in which one drives around a feeling.”
– Valdy

Many moons ago my trusted, much loved, high-end record player and stereo system was stolen and for a variety of reasons I did not immediately replace it. Years later when I did the pawn shop special turned out to be a piece of junk. It was also the era when CD players had become the rage and vinyl was going dinosaur, so I went the CD route.

While compiling CD’s  I thankfully hung on to the records, stuffing them into boxes in my garage. I rediscovered them when moving into my current home. There they sat, and sat, and sat.

As a true professional procrastinator, I eventually started whining about the need to get a new stereo system since I still had the old records and my life style was basically stay home work and play.

This past spring my buddy Les, tired of hearing me moan and snivel, snagged one in a local pawnshop. Les is an expert bird-dog for such needs; ask him to find something and sooner or later he will locate one in his travels. The stereo looked impressive – equalizer, turntable that went around and around, speakers, all the bells and whistles. Except the needle.

Enter Gary – my rock star, guitar-player buddy with the technical savvy to fix such stuff. (My skill with electronics is in blowing them up – but that’s another column – coming to you soon).

I digress. Gary tried for days to find the right needle but to no success. There was an obvious reason why Les discovered the stereo in the pawn shop to begin with. Undaunted Gary pursued and simply found me a whole new turntable system which worked well with the rest of the stereo unit Les had found.

The late summer afternoon Gary finally hooked up the new turntable Tez and I were busy as bees in the yard and so we never got to playing with it.

Two weeks ago (about two months after the turntable hookup) I was downstairs working on a writing project when my heart nearly hit the top of my mouth. A loud thumping of feet on the ceiling and some loud hoots and cheers jarred me out of my writer world. I sat for a second trying to comprehend what I was hearing. Then I realized it was music as the volume above me increased – as did the feet thumping.

I ambled up the stairs still perplexed until I opened the door to the upstairs and was greeted loudly with the familiar sounds of the Beach Boys blasting out.

In the living room one of our four cats was on top of the couch somewhat in shock, ears back, eyes bulging, staring at my wife who was deliriously in joy as she thumped around the hardwood floors dancing up a frenzy.

She was delightfully lost in joyful twists and turns, gyrations and exclamations as “the boys” flooded the air space at great volume.

It was somewhere around her third spin while singing (?) along to the record that she noticed me watching her.

With a gorgeous grin gleaming from her happy face she simply waved a salutation, then increased the volume of her attempted harmonies and returned to her concentrated boogying. The record player was back.

I chuckled and with oxygen tank in hand attempted a little jive myself.

For the next three hours I sorted through my beat up old record collection reacquainting myself with some long forgotten dear friends. Meanwhile Teresa continued to dance and sing.

What a marvelous afternoon.

It’s been a total joy re-discovering my music collection – trashed as it is, and I look forward to a winter of further connection. In sorting through my stack of old albums I was flooded with a plethora of memories. Some about the record itself, some about the people or events that I recalled because of the record or songs on them.

Music has been a huge part of my life not just as a hobby but also a job. Like you, many tunes are triggers to memories. Some good, some bad, some happy, some sad. I always thought Valdy nailed it on his album cover many years ago with the line I began this column with: “Music is a vehicle in which one drives around a feeling.”

How true.

So many artists have impacted my life with tunes and lyrics. Much of my passion is reserved for the great hits of great artists, however perhaps most significant for me are songs by local musicians or people I have known or worked with in the industry.

As I sorted through my records I thought of my favourite stars such as Jackson Browne, the Beatles, Eagles, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Bee Gees, Dan Hill and how their creations impacted my world.

My curiosity got the best of me and I turned to the internet and Rolling Stone magazine to discover what their all-time best album is considered to be. I was not surprised to learn it’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band recorded by the Beatles in 1967.

I happen to have that album and fully plan on playing it along with the hundred or so other albums I have and see if Rolling Stone is right. It sure will be fun finding out.

Stay tuned.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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