Robert’s column

Robert’s column

Barron: Vinyl records making a comeback

Remember the days when getting a new record was an event?

When I was young (or younger), I owned hundreds of vinyl records of many of the bands I really liked at the time.

I was not alone in this.

Most of my friends also collected records, and each had hundreds, if not thousands, of them that were kept in crates that milk companies would transport their milk in.

These crates were perfectly sized to hold records, and I’ve often wondered if the companies would have made them in that size if they knew how many of them would eventually be used for that purpose.

Getting a new record was an event, and I would read over the large jacket that would usually have a lot of information about the band, the words of the songs, posters, and all kinds of pictures of the members doing fun things for hours on end.

Sometimes, the band would do something different on a record to pique the curiosity and imaginations of their mostly young fans, like when Led Zeppelin added some lyrics on its fourth album that could only be heard by playing the record backwards.

We would sit around the turntable and spin the record backwards until we heard the lyrics, and then congratulate ourselves in breaking the case.

We considered it a big deal, and we would talk about it for months, if not years, afterwards.

Once the record entered your collection, it became a permanent addition as there would never be any consideration of selling it, or any other of the records in the collection, no matter how poor you might be at certain times.

I was proud of my collection; I felt that my taste in music said a lot about who I was at the time, and I would sit for hours late into the night with a pair of headphones on while I analyzed the songs, their words and the instruments that were played.

Sometimes, my earphone cord would slip out of the stereo and my family would be treated to the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ playing at almost full volume at 2 a.m.

I was not very popular when that happened, and I would have to deal with a lot of snarky comments from my many siblings and parents at the breakfast table the next morning.

I always assumed that I would have that record collection for the rest of my life, and would pass it on to my favourite kid on my deathbed.

When I had the record collection, it was the most valuable thing I owned, and I envisioned one of my children being overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction that he/she should be recognized for such a high honour.

But that didn’t happen.

I moved a lot when I was in university so my record collection was stored at my parent’s house until I found a more permanent and safe home for it, but then I moved to Toronto and my parents moved somewhere else and, over time, I lost track of the collection and I haven’t seen it since.

On top of that, the age of CDs began and vinyl records, which had ruled the music industry for many decades, seemed to vanish overnight.

A lot of time has passed since I last saw my collection, but the memories came flooding back in a torrent when I visited the new Full Bug Records on Jubilee Street in Duncan.

The smell and feel of the store was exactly what I remembered from the 1970s and 1980s when vinyl records still ruled supreme.

Records were piled high in Full Bug Records and customers were flipping through them with that intense stare I used to get in those stores.

Owner Matt Hewlett is a retired restaurateur from Vancouver who decided to get out of the big city and fulfill his dream of opening a record store.

He told me that the vinyl record industry was making a comeback, in part because of all the reasons I listed in this column for enjoying my records.

Hewlett said he’s witnessing the resurgence first hand at his store, and noted that his increasing customer base covers a wide range of ages, from 15 to 70.

He made me nostalgic for my lost records from long ago. Does anyone have any milk crates to spare?

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

RELATED: The vinyl countdown: needle ready to drop on Nanaimo Record Show

RELATED: HMV return to Canada ‘unlikely, but possible,’ new owner says

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Be A Voice: A Musician’s Guide for the Live Performance, unlocks the keys to establishing a presence on stage. (Contributed - Jason Parsons)
Vancouver Islander writes the book on live performances

Jason Parsons’ new book unlocks the keys to establishing a presence on stage

VIU’s ‘Portal’ magazine is turning 30 years old. (Image courtesy Chantelle Calitz)
Vancouver Island University’s literary magazine ‘Portal’ celebrates 30 years

Virtual launch featuring contributor readings took place April 30

This image, taken with a help of microscope, shows surf smelt eggs. North Saanich’s Tryon Beach is perhaps the most productive breeding ground for surf smelt as well as Pacific sand lance. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
North Saanich’s Tryon beach is a biological gold mine

Beach serves as a productive breeding ground for fish crucial for birds and large animals

Paul Beltgens will never advocate for the export of raw logs under any circumstances. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Innovative approach keeps small Vancouver Island forest company running strong

Owner Paul Beltgens embraces changing times, utilizes high standards in production

Pacific sand dollars are a local species which belong to the same group as sea urchins. While alive, they are covered entirely by thousands of densely packed, short and slender spikes. (Photo courtesy of Louise Page)
The peculiar life of Vancouver Island’s Pacific sand dollar

UVic biology professor Louise Page offers a glace into sand dollars’ world under the water

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

The Lake Cowichan branch of the Royal Bank of Canada is closing. (Google)
Lake Cowichan’s RBC branch will close in November

RBC says banking needs will still be met

Central Saanich council has issued a temporary order against the demolition of the Brentwood Anglican Chapel building at 788 Sea Drive. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Central Saanich temporarily saves historic chapel from demolition

Temporary protection order for Brentwood Anglican Chapel building valid for 60 days

Most Read