Tuesday, 30 April 2013

CRAFTS; Recent Crafty Goings On

I've refound my crafty vibe over the last couple of weeks which has finally made me finish off a lot of the projects that were half started - I often get to a project being three quarters done and then think about what crafty thing to do next and never end up finishing the first one. So, after pinning more cross stitch patterns then i'll ever have the time to do, I've been challenging myself to not starting anything new untill I had at least finished two of my on going projects, finally I'm getting there. 

What's important to me is crafting on a budget, reusing old things, framing things when I can just to keep the costs down. Crafting can get crazily expensive if you do a lot, so most of my threads, fabrics, patterns and aida material I've all been able to pick up really cheap from estate sales. A lot of it is vintage - especially some of the embroidery threads but they don't date at all and it's great being able to use them in projects still. Aside two of the yarns in the crochet project and the embroidery floss for the sheep, everything is second hand.

This super cute cross stitch pattern was one I picked up because of how sweet the sheep all look in their different "styled" fleeces. Starting this at the end of last year, the winter darkness kind of delayed me finishing this piece but I love how it turned out. Now to just find a frame for it!

Then I took to finally doing something with three stuffed fabric hearts I managed to find at an estate sale, so along with all my other supplies (again all estate sale pickings) I managed to turn them into a drop down row of three hearts (there's probably some crafty name for this but I'm unaware of it). With just cotton, lace edging and buttons it's a wonder what you can get up to with a spare half hour and it now cheers up the bedroom.

1970's eat your heart out with this vintage cushion - this was a crewel kit, unopened from the 1970's, the colours were much more gordy in the images so I was hesitant at first but I love how it turned out. I actually brought it to resell, but our sofa has been lacking in cushions so cosy comfy needs came first. This was my first time at crewel work which is basically embroidering with wool, I picked up some new stitches and it was a great quick little project.

So after finishing more then the two projects I had challenged myself to do, the last week I've been working on two great new projects - another cushion this time in crochet and a new cross stitch pattern - both found on pinterest.

I'm a week into this cross stitch which is based on a vintage French soap advertisement. Even though I've been cross stitching over 20 years (I started when I was 5-6), I still need my lines to know where I am, but the more I stitch the more I notice how much of a perfectionist I am with my work especially with colour choices - this pattern came without a colour guide so it's all my own choices, i'm still a little unsure with regards to the yellow tones, but the more I sew around it, the more they seem to blend.

Lastly I want to show you something I picked up at an estate sale at the weekend - it's basically a vintage hard case camera bag although at first I thought it might have been a vanity case. Either way it was only $4 so it was coming home with me. I had mixed ideas about either reselling it or turning it into a box for my embroidery floss seeing they were bursting out of where I was originally storing them. The embroidery floss won, and actually it makes a very good sewing box, maybe one day when we're rich enough to afford a DSLR - my little bridge camera drowns it in, it'll find it's way back into being what it was originally intended for.

I'd love to hear what crafts and projects your currently working on?

Monday, 29 April 2013

VINTAGE; Volupte Reflects the Prettiest of Faces


Volupte - a compact manufacture producing designs between the 1930's and the 1950's credited themselves and their compacts as "reflecting the prettiest faces" are considered to have been one of the top compact companies in their time. This is only the second Volupte that I've comes across in my hunting, or at least in my price range - this was a mere $3 at an estate sale at the weekend. I love having collections within a collection and this falls within my place souvenir additions - alongside my London, Chicago and Pennsylvania ones. While I try to steer away from buying compacts of places I haven't yet visited, Joe persuaded me otherwise - we will actually get to visit Florida as it's where one of his gran's now lives, so I guess it's allowed.

This addition with it's gold detailing of places and cultural representations of Florida upon a silver backdrop upon the top, this is an unused Volupte compact - one that came complete with it's original puff and small purchase slip. I wonder if they still imagined people collecting and using them 70 plus years from their manufacture when they notated the last line of the compact providing "long and lasting service" - they certainly age well indeed.

Friday, 26 April 2013

METRO DETROIT; An April Sunday at the Zoo

We've been on a mission of the past three weeks to head back to the Detroit Zoo - but one thing or another - being ill and the weather stopped us from ever getting there until last Sunday when we made our trip there our "date" of the week. It's been over a year since our last visit, which is pretty bad considering it's like a couple of miles from where we live, so this time we brought zoo membership for the next year - yey for being able to visit lots! Detroit is a great sized zoo and while it's not on the scale of say London or Edinburgh, there's a good assortment of animals you don't feel like you have to rush around to see everything, nor do your feet start to ache mid way around.

A couple of the animals were still off exhibit due to the colder then normal spring like temperatures but the majority were out and about - the Rhino's were certainly making the most of the warmer spring day with their playful headbutting while the lions and tigers were just doing what your typical feline friend will be doing - sleeping. The grounds were filled with daffodils and blue bells yet the trees are still bare of their leaves, they've opened a new walk way over ponds and the otters are getting a new home built. But like last time, the polar bears were hiding.

Hope you have a great weekend everyone, hopefully we get out as the spring sunny days seen to have returned in time, plus there looks to be some great estate sales in our neck of the woods tomorrow, so looking forward to being able to grab some vintage treasures!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

LIFE; Expat to Expat Q&A

Found Love.  Now What?

I seem to be getting on a roll with the whole question and answer kind of posts so I thought I would carry on the theme and link up with the expat Q & A post that I found on Belinda's expat blog Found Love, Now What?. The questions are all cultural based, so whether your an expat or not, you might find some interesting points of difference between my British homeland and life here in south east Michigan. 

1. What was your favourite season back home and is it the same now; why or why not?  
I've always loved spring - it's a sign of what's to come, of all the bulbs starting to pop through and the pretty blossom on the trees. I'm far, far more welcoming of autumn now after releasing just how warm it gets in Michigan that it's nice to have cooler days. Plus the shades the leaves go here are just incredibly beautiful.

2. Is there a place you would want to move to based solely on the weather?
Not partially, although somewhere with a mix of weather and seasons is always welcome. 

3. What is a piece an article of clothing that you had to buy for your new home due to the weather? i.e. galoshes, winter coat, etc
Proper winter boots, my New Look fashion winter boots really weren't suitable for the amount of snow and ice in Michigan. And the snow isn't like the UK snow, it'll snow everyday for weeks and just add up to the amount already there and refuse to melt because it just gets so cold. 

4. Have you found the weather stereotypes of your new home to be true?
I'm actually not aware of any in all honesty ....

5. Is there somewhere you would never live based solely on the weather?
The Amazon rain forest or the Arctic - yeah not my cup of tea. 

6. What are you looking forward to most this spring?
Being able to craft again at night as the nights get lighter, being able to go out without a coat and seeing the squirrels around the apartment complex again.

7. Where you live, what is your go to outfit for spring?
Normally tank tops and cardigans - or at least that was last years spring outfit, currently spring this year is being below average in warmth, so coats are still needed. But certainly when it gets warm in spring, you're dressing like you would for summer in the UK. 

8. What is one thing or event that you miss that happens back home at this time of the year?
I'm from a town in the middle of east Yorkshire that doesn't really do anything so i'm probably not missing anything that specially happens in Spring - probably missing something fun in York though they normally have something going on in the marketplace on weekends - say farmers markets and ice carvings and such. 

9. If your hubs could bring home a bouquet of any type of flower, what you pick?
Hmmm roses, tulips or big happy daisies. 

10. What does your perfect Saturday look like?
Haha every Saturday is my perfect Saturday going to estate sales although that does mean waking up early, driving nearly 100 miles around the metro region, buying quirky vintage stuff. Saturday nights tend to be our weekly date night so we either go out for a meal or order a take out, snuggle on the sofa watching films or chill out to vinyl, phones are generally banned on Saturday nights too. 

Bonus Question - Are there any special holidays in your new country in the month of May?
We have Memorial Day (27th) which is a public holiday and Mother's day in the US is always the second Sunday in May. There's certainly no May Day bank holiday.

Spring in Michigan - bluebells, sunsets and birds

What's your favourite season?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

LIFE; Record Store Day and Vintage Pickings

The vinyl gods were certainly in our favour on Saturday when Record Store Day arrived - not only in grabbing the vinyl we wanted in our local record store but additionally in our estate sale pickings. In the end we came home with 27 LPS and a vintage record cabinet - kinda just a little addicted to collecting them you might say. To finish off the last couple of posts I thought I'd share with you the LPS we picked up that were exclusive to the day and also some of the goodies we managed to grab. 

Record Store Day Finds - Flipside
We did picture having to go to several record stores to grab the Miles Davis vinyl that Joe wanted for his birthday but luckily Flipside in Clawson had the ones he wanted - both repressings of former work - which are how hidden until his birthday. We also grabbed The Animals Is Here - a reissue of their 1964 45 extended play record with their infamous House of the Rising Sun track on. And while I wasn't planning on purchasing the Avenged Sevenfold Diamonds in the Rough - they were a very important band to me in my late teen years and actually surprised me in how good the vinyl was. Flipside also have a great selection of $1 records so I also grabbed some more The Mama's and The Papa's (Farewell to the First Golden Age), ELO (Discovery), Ella Fitzgerald (Sweet Songs for Swingers)  Fleetwood Mac (self tilted) and Styx (The Grand Illusion) for Joe. The store was packed, the queue was along the whole length of the store - it was so great to see so many people excited about and buying vinyl.

Estate Sale Finds
Normally we don't have this much luck in finding vinyl at estate sales, this week was rather epic in our purchases. Granted we don't always know of the bands when we buy the vinyl but for $1 give or take it's worth the risk and we've come across some great bands this way. It would kind of be a little crazy to name all the vinyl we picked up, but since Saturday we've been working away through our purchases and the top bands would have to be from Jethrol Tull (Stand Up) Iron Butterfly (Heavy), Grand Funk Railroad (On Time), Uriah Heap (debut album - if you love metal you need this very early metal album in your life), Blue Oyster Cult, The Byrds (Turn, Turn, Turn) to Eric Clapton (self titled) and more Lionel Hampton. 

So you can see our music choices are rather wide and varied - everything from jazz, early rock, prog rock and metal. Variety is the spice of life and all.

We also picked up a vintage record cabinet for $5 (it was 75% off) and came out perfectly well after a good polishing which now sits under our Detroit Jazz festival poster from it's opening year in the 1980's - again another estate sale find from weeks ago. Joe wants to add wheels to it, as we're aiming to store our "favourite" vinyl in there, so if there was ever a fire "we could wheel it out", I see his logic.

I'll leave you with something I overheard between two middle aged gentleman when they walked past us as we were going through a box of records and I was checking the name of a band on my phone. They assumed we were checking how much they sold for on ebay and the like, I should of corrected them - LPs are the one thing we don't resell. We don't buy them to make money, we don't buy them because we want to be hip (another statement we've had made towards us because we buy LPs), we're just two people who love hunting for them together, we love music in all it's genres and we love vinyl.

Did you buy anything for record store day or find anything great at the weekend?

Monday, 22 April 2013

LIFE; Top Dog

Growing up I had a toy dog, a Fisher Price Little Snoopy toy dog that had wheels that clacked and made the "yip yip" sound as they went round, a cord wire for a tail and a yellow wooden shoe dangling from it's mouth.  I dragged that toy dog on it's red string everywhere. Literally everywhere. During the late 1980's and the early 1990's Snoopy was dragged around Yorkshire to the Lake District, we were rather inseparable. Actually dragging this dog around Keswick is one of my early memories as it's wheels squeaked it's way through the underpass towards Lake Derwent. Even the photograph which probably dates from 1988-89 shows I took him to the beach in my gorgeous pink onesie - who says I never do outfit of the day posts?! (not too sure of the beach, was thinking it might be Filey but who knows). Growing up the toy dog sat on top of my bookcase even though the stickers of his body were rubbing off and the string was more then a little frayed. 

Now this tale now fasts forward itself to 2013 and an estate sale in Detroit were we came across the long lost twin of the toy dog, there he was, sat on a shelf, waiting to be adopted. I left my original toy dog in the UK, it felt only right that I rehomed this one although he was being straggled by green yarn. Aside from my own, this was the first other Little Snoopy's I'd ever seen - although according to Ebay they are rather popular with the bidders. 

Little Snoopy was released in both the 1960's and the 1980's, sadly on my first toy all the markings have worn off so I couldn't tell you it's real age, but the latest addition was copyright to 1968. He's a little worse for wear - he's misplaced his shoe but he brings back a lot of happy memories. It's also great for wheeling towards the kitties, with the yip yip noise, they don't know what to make of it.

Maybe I'll have to go through some more of my childhood photos and scan them in for giggles.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Ask Me Anything - Answers Part 1

Honest I haven't forgotten about my request for questions and then answering them - I just constantly suffer from a backlog of posts to publish and never want to overburden you all too much with my random posts. For lengths and interest sake i'm spiting the answers into two - this being part one is more focused towards the vintage answers. So here goes - feel free to keep asking any questions in the comments box!

I've always wondered whether you have always had a background in vintage or it's something you've grown more fond of since moving to America

Vintage has been second nature to me - I grew up with a preference for black and white (or early colour) films and with The Beatles on constantly in the house to attending WW2 themed air shows and the like. But I grew up being told not to buy things I didn't need, so I never spurgled or treated myself to pretty vintage things like I do now and then through my teenage years, vintage kinda fell behind me wanting to "find" myself through music culture rather then going down the vintage route. It wasn't until I inherited some pieces - a 1930s sewing machine, lots of vintage crochet patterns and my vintage compacts that I really took a turn in celebrating and rehoming vintage. Joe and moving to the US has certainly opened more doors and I appreciate and love vintage all the more because of it - be it the films, music, lifestyle and items. Although I don't style myself constantly in a vintage style, buying vintage is now my go to choice for most household pieces - especially with saving for a house and needing things alongside just not wanting to have the same as everyone else.

I'd like to know your five dream dinner party guests (living or dead), what you'd feed them and what you'd have playing as a soundtrack!

Tough question! I think my guests would have to be Bebe Daniels, my grandad, Ginger Rogers, George Harrison and Clark Gable. We'd have a huge home made Indian curry night with a speakeasy feel with cocktails and early jazz playing.

I'd love to know if you're a 'collector' by nature? 

I've always as far as I can remember have collected something - once it was badges then keyrings, to newspaper clippings of my favourite bands to of course vintage powder compacts. For the sake of my bank balance I do try and limit my collections just a couple of main things I chase - for example the compacts. I'd certainly say we, and i'm saying we because luckily me and Joe share and have passions to collect the same items - are very keen collectors of vinyl in having over 200 records which you might have noticed me talking about lately, to having smaller (but certainly growing) collections of vintage cookbooks and piles of vintage crochet and knitting patterns, tea cups and apparently silver trays - we seem to have more then any one would really need.  I do want to rehome and keep more then I ever can and I get sad when I can't. Haha.

Part two - the answers to the  more personal based questions will be coming (hopefully) next week. But if you still have a question or even questions you'd love to ask, then feel free to leave them below!!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Top 6 Vinyl - My Picks

Trying to narrow over 200 LPs into just the top 6 to share with you today for record store day which is on Saturday (wup) was just a bit of a challenge, but here they are. These are my top 6 vinyls that either mean a lot to me or they get played a lot - others are representative of the band in general. These are all originals, no non releases here.

The Beatles "Blue Album" 1967 - 1970 - I grew up in a house that always had The Beatles music playing, my mam actually owned many of their vinyl records. So for me, it's only natural for me to want to collect The Beatles myself. This particular album was a Christmas present from Joe. I also own Sgt Pepper alongside some solo Paul McCartney and George Harrison LPS. 

Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds - This record is actually the first memory of music I have because my dad owned this album both on vinyl and CD. I grew up being captivated by the gruesome art work of the aliens taking over Earth and later the original book by HG Wells which is one of my top books of all time - hate the Tom Cruise movie of it though. It is an album you need to devote a good couple of years listening all the way, but it's still memorizing.

Doris Day's Greatest Hit - I love, love, love Doris Day films and musicals in general, so when we went to an estate sale which had five of her LPS I had to grab them all. We actually own more Doris Day vinyls over anyone else.

The Police - Synchronicity - I love the mix of post punk reggae rock vibe that The Police had and I did a backwards journey though finding them through first listening to Sting's solo work whilst in my teens. I'm on a mission to complete my Police collection - I additionally own Ghost in the Machine, a completion vinyl and some of Sting's solo work. 

Aretha With the Ray Bryant Combo - This is Aretha Franklin's rare debut album on the Columbia label (rather then the re-release from the 1970's) - we know it's rare as it has the infamous 6 eye logo on the record label. We scored it for $1 at an estate sale - it has been known to sell for over $100 but I refuse to sell it. We're on a mission to collect Aretha's vinyls too - so far we have three. 

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours - Fleetwood Mac's Rumours has to be one, if not their major famous release, it's timeless, moody and incredible especially if you know the personal back story to the band members. I have aims of collecting more of their LPs but we don't come over too many of them at sales.

So as you can see there's a bit of a link in a couple of these - music I heard growing up. But they are in music styles I listen to now and always have - rock, moody, loud, ya know. Later this week i'll be sharing with you Joe's top 6 picks so we can do some comparing and contrasting - he has a bit more of a superior and boarder music taste then I. 

If you had to pick your top six albums, what would they be? I'd love to know!

Monday, 15 April 2013

We'll Catch the Sun and Away We'll Fly

A weekend of lazying out to early rock and roll vinyl and psychedelic blues was spent somewhat among tissues and shots of cough medicine - the joys of catching your partners cold. Last week ended were this one begins - waiting to hear back from a mortgage adviser in an attempt to get approved so we can properly start house hunting. Once the ball gets rolling I'm thinking about running a couple of posts covering the house hunting and buying adventure - tips we come across and the like especially geared for us first time buyers. But that is for another time.

Managing to hit some estate sales on Saturday and aside from buying new stock we added to our vinyl collection with LPs from the Byrds, the Mamas and the Papas to Diana Ross (close enough to Motown) among others. After Easter and weddings this was the first weekend we've had to ourselves to get out and picking although we battled through a huge hailstorm and dreary weather. A Sunday afternoon lazying on the sofa watching Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dancing their way through Carefree and pouring over vintage model and train reference books, finding old pressed four leaf clovers hidden within their pages merged into watching The Masters for hours and getting my English fix with Call the Midwife and Mr Selfridge on PBS.  

How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, 12 April 2013

Immigration ... moving "guilt"

A couple of months ago I looked into something that's been termed "immigration guilt" - that feeling that sometimes overcomes you when you reflect on moving countries and you consider and remember all that you left behind. While in my instance it can be related to moving countries, but it can just as likely be in relation to moving within the same country, moving to a new town to a new place maybe for a new job or to start at university, anywhere to start anew. 

Books, articles and websites on the subject wrap immigration guilt up with self identity, self representation of the old and new, the turmoil of relocating, questions of how does one cope with your idea of "self" in your new setting. In actuality I've experienced and internalize this sense of guilt into questioning how people in your former life and location cope, particularly parents without you, others have described questioning if migrating was the right thing to do. Its like homesickness, but much more self questioning. For me it's not that I regret, nor do I question my motive or decision to leave the UK - it was the right thing for me, for my relationship and where I am in my life. But, I left at a time where my friends are growing up and i'm not there.

Maybe it's partly selfish - I've just thought that as I sit here typing this out but with us now looking for our first house, America increasingly feels like home, and the UK not so much, my ties are slowly being cut from the homeland and sometimes it hurts - but it's natural and it's okay for it to hurt. Friends from school and university are now, like myself in our late twenties, a few are getting married, even more are having babies. One of my closest friends who I've managed to keep a friendship going with since moving is getting married in May, and while i'd love to be there, money doesn't allow. Another has been married and had a baby in the time I've being living in America. It's not that I'm jealous of them, but you can sometimes get wrapped up in this sense of guilt because you want to be there, but you can't. It can reach the point whereby you over idealize people, places and events through the "if only". Social media can make this worse and while it helps that you can keep in touch easier with people, flashes of their life on your timeline, their going out, going to weddings, showing their babies makes you feel even more remote, you're just watching their life from afar. But you have to handle the emotions and move on, other people's lives won't stop because you moved. Harsh but true and in fact they might be thinking the same about your own life and experiences as you share countless photographs of all the new places you visit, foods you try to new people you meet that they don't know. They might be hurting just as much as you because they can't be sharing those new experiences with you. 

Overall it is something natural to feel, emotions are emotions, it would be worse to hide them, to ignore them and bottle them up. It's ok to move be if fifty, five hundred or five thousand miles, have moments of homesickness, feel bad about not being able to share in life's journey, to reflect but most importantly to carry on living your own life. Relocating is hard, it's a period of reflection, self evaluating and change but also new possibilities and a battle between your old self and the new - it takes a while for the two self's to settle and have a part of yourself in another place - that's part of the fun of relocating.

"I am two, one looks back
the other turns to the sea" 
Gabriel Mistral 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Trying to Find Motown Vinyl in Motown City

So to celebrate Record Store Day I thought I'd tell you about Detroit, Motown and trying to find it on vinyl. You'd think living just outside the birthplace of Motown it'd be easy to find original Motown records - think again. Since moving to metro Detroit I've been listening to a lot of Motown and I have ambitions of building up my vinyl Motown collection but it isn't occurring that easy.

Motown Record Corp. was set up in Detroit in 1959 - it was a mash up of two ideas - motor and town - this is the Motorcity after all and Motown itself has become a nickname for Detroit. The Motown Sound is considering to be influential by being able to somewhat cross the racial divide and it's role in the social intergration of the 1960's. In fact Motown as a the record company was black owned and a black centered business. It even brought out the first girl groups. Across the next 12 years, Motown Records achieved an incredible 110 top 10 records with bands such as The Supremes*, The Temptations*, Stevie Wonder*, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five and The Marvelettes* (who sang Please Mr Postman)* to The Detroit Spinners* (all stared acts are from Detroit/Michigan). 

From left to right working clockwise - the Jackson 5, The Supremes, The Temptations, The Marvellets. 

In fact Motown is even defined as a sound. While producers believed in keeping it simple, the trademark sound of Motown is recognised through tambourines and hand clapping assisting the back beat and even often using two drummers - through overdubbing or playing together. The gospel "call and respond" form of singing and distinctive melodies became the sound. By 1971 Motown had left Detroit for LA, the 1967 race riots in the city didn't help. The Motown museum still exists in the city - based in the building which was formally a record studio for the label. Considering the music is over 50 years old, it certainly doesn't sound it's age.

So why is it so hard to find Motown records just a couple of miles away from the city of it's birth? Sadly it comes down to race. The race riots I just mentioned caused white migration (to use it's proper social term "white flight") out of the Detroit and while Motown helped with some racial integration, it could only go some way. As many of the estate sales (although we do head into the city when we get the chance) are in the suburbs unfortunately many of these people may have been fleeing from the perceived threats of riots and the black population, so to be hoping for black music is perhaps asking too much of an era of inequality. It's sad, but true and even today racism is strongly apparent in many places.

It's rare but an amazing find when we do come across Motown vinyl, we've managed to score some from Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations and The Commodores (when Lionel Richie was still a member and all). But considering we've been buying and collecting vinyl since last September it's hard going. Granted we could buy them at record stores, but for us part of the fun is in the chase and to understand and appreciate Motown is to know the social issues surrounding it, particularly in the city which it was born out of.

Do you love Motown? 

Monday, 8 April 2013

Around These Parts

Growing up on the Yorkshire Wolds meant walking hills became second nature to me, now living in south east Michigan the only hill we have in our city is man made and in the local park. Kids love the hill - they all go, climb up and sledge down in the winter months when there's been some snow. For the rest of the months walking up to the top offers a different terrain for runners and walkers alike with some great views of the cities bordering ours. Don't be fooled by the depth and the blueness of the Michigan early cloudless spring morning skies - they can be as bitterly cold in the wind as any day in Winter but it's nice being able to somewhat feel the warmth of the sun and the promise of warmer days to come.

Friday, 5 April 2013

10 Reasons Why I Prefer Vinyl

To carry on with the theme for Record Store Day posts throughout April, I thought i'd share with you my top ten reasons as to why we collect, love and prefer our music and listening to it on vinyl over digital versions and CDs. And no, it's not because I want to be hip or because it's fashionable. If you love vinyl too, feel free to leave your own reasons why in the comments - I'd love to hear them! 


Childhood Memories
Records actually are my first childhood memories of music, I danced to them to the living room as a child. Vinyl amazed me - they were so visual, heavy and there - tapes were annoying because you'd have to rewind them or they'd get into a tangled mess. My parents didn't have a huge vinyl collection, but it did span from The Beatles, Boney M to Abba from what I remember. Sadly like many people, they got rid of many of their vinyls when CDs went big.

Pops and Crackles 
From the click of starting the turn table, the hiss before the music begins as the needle dances itself over from the edge to the first groove to any pops and crackles, vinyl music to me at least, just sounds better. There I said it. Mind you because as we listen to a lot of rock music, that kind of music drowns out any crackles you might come across.

Talking Point
Through the people you talk to in record shop to friends and colleagues, vinyl and collecting them gets people talking - they are interested in why and how you started to collect them, from where and what kind of music. Older generations especially when they see us head diving into piles of them at estate sales love knowing us younger folk are continuing to play the music they played at our age, that the vinyl is being appreciated and loved just as much as they were in the 1950's to 1970's.

Hand Me Down Factor
Looking through people's vinyl collections is a method of looking through a person's life - their tastes and their attitudes. They are tangible reflections, objects and memories of times and places. The art work to the songs account and record moments in history and through handing them down tor purchasing them second hand keeps them alive and listened too. How likely is anyone going to be handing down their CD collection to their children and grandchildren yet along their digital hard drive of songs?! Knowing they were listened to and appreciated back in previous decades amazes me - I always wonder who's hands held the vinyl before you. 

Vinyl Makes You Listen
From start to finish vinyls make you listen to the music. You have to listen for the side ending, you physically  have turn them over, you can't put them on shuffle or easily skip a track. You become more engaged and aware of the music you're hearing. You appreciate and are willing to pay for the record because you can handle it, you can feel it, digital files, are just words on a screen, you can't touch it - therefore people are less willing to pay for it - hence why record companies are dropping like flies. Vinyls were designed to be listened to and enjoyed as a whole - from the first track to the final one - many tell a story in the order they appear on the track listing, modern digital downloads are about one song that rarely relates to anything else.

The Whole Package
Aesthetics - yeah I'm that shallow to actually like looking at their art work, handling a vinyl, taking it out of a sleeve. The whole package makes you appreciate them all the more. With vinyls you get great LP artwork - from covers (just think of Sgt. Pepper) to everything that might be included inside - liner notes, posters to designs on the sleeve and the vinyl itself. Granted you get art work on CDs but it's smaller and as a digital file, well it's just not there.


Vinyl's are Better for the Environment
Surprisingly you'd think the world of digital music and clouds would be cleaner for the environment - think again. Digital Music News suggests LPS are actually greener. To be digital you need the added components of smartphones, iphones (and the whole i-world gear as I call it) to headphones which all more then likely end up in landfills when we purchase the newest edition or they break - because they will break - that's all part of their plan to make you buy more and more so you make them more money. Don't get me wrong I know you need equipment for records - yet vintage turntables work as amazing as new ones - ours is from the 1970's a works like a dream. 

Vinyl is much less likely to end up in the landfill for a number of reasons, it's much more likely to be saved and collected, records which don't sell are often melted and remade into new records and the plastic itself are typically not as damaging. There's even the suggestion that vinyl collectors themselves are typically much more environmentally aware then the mass cloud music lovers.

They Are Relatively Cheap to Collect
Whether you purchase your vinyl online, at estate sales or via record stores, the price of vinyl is more then reasonable for new or second hand alike. While condition and who the vinyl is of, does play an important factor, especially in second hand alongside release date or limited editions, you can pick up some perfectly old, big named vinyl for easy money. At estate sales we tend to pay on average $1 to $3 a record (it depends more on if it's a posh company running the estate sale), record stores you do pay more dependent upon the artist.

Vintage Music Sounds Better on Vinyl
To me listening to bands from by gone years need to be listened through the original audio devices of that period, Motown needs those hisses and crackles, music explorations of Led Zeppelin needs the amazing cover art work, original Beatles records need to be on en original 12" with the memories of the former listeners and owners attached to it. 

Vinyl Has Stood the Test of Time
Vinyl, in one form or another have been around since 1894 (yes really) and are still being produced especially by indie labels. That alone should tell you something - we have a lot of vinyl's from the 1950's - will CDS still be around and or collected in another 70 years, I doubt it. While 8 tracks, cassettes and CDS have come, and nearly all but gone, they are still being produced and used. Generation after generation turn to vinyl as their music of choice whether they are the average John Doe off the street, DJ or audiophile.

Hope you're all enjoying this series of posts as much as I have enjoyed writing and sharing them all with you. Next week I'll be exploring the adventures and the somewhat limitations of trying to hunt down and collect Motown records in the city it was created in - it's harder then you might think.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Record Store Day - April 20th

You may already know I prefer my music on a 12" vinyl so what would be more fitting then telling you all about Record Store Day coming up on 20th April (you may have spotted the badge for the day on my blog other in <<<< direction for a while). Celebrated internationally, Record Store Day, was first held in 2008 as a day to celebrate music through artists, fans and independent record stores. Sadly we all know in the UK all too many indepdent record stores closed down - I had my own favourite along High Ousegate (the name of the store actually escapes me now) in York, a store I purchased some great indie music and additionally in Newcastle, Reflex was a great way to spend a couple of hours pouring over music - music which were otherwise hard to track down in our same old same old high street stores. 

Moving to metro Detroit and I'm a little spoilt in being able to access independent record stores - there's four in the next three cities from us, just ten minutes drive - all stores with huge new and second hand vinyl collections. While we love a hunt at estate sales for gathering vinyl, record stores are our go to places for purchasing vinyl for gifts to each other (birthdays etc) and for the essentials of maintaining a healthy and working turntable - for needles and cleaners. For me independent record stores keep it real by not only offering affordable music but in their own way, they keep the joy of the vinyl medium alive. Moreover, vinyl sales are keeping independent record stores alive and well;


Each year for Record Store Day, a tonne of vintage and new artists alike get their music on vinyl released as first, limited or re-releases. This year with Jack White (a Detroit dude and all) is the official ambassador for 2013, The White Stripes are reissuing their album Elephant for it's 10th anniversary LP which has apparently red and black on one side and white on the reverse. But you'll also find vinyl's from Pink Floyd, Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold (I totally would have been after this if I was still a massive A7X fan like I once was), The Animals, Placebo, The Cure to Frank Turner. You'll find the full list of artists here

Some of the Record Store Day releases - Jimi Hendrex, Pink Floyd, Mumford & Sons, Deftones, David Bowie. Click through on this record image for more information. 

We're aiming to pop around to our local record stores and come away with a couple of vinyls, even if it's only the 7" singles. To celebrate Record Day and vinyl alongside music in general I'll be posting several posts across April looking deeper into our vinyl collection and what to look out for if your thinking about buying vinyl.

Check out their list of participating record stores where you live (remember the day is international - and there's a tonne of stores in the UK participating) although some of the records may not be released in some locations. They also have a great facebook page too.

While this post may seem sponsored it isn't, I'm just that much into vinyl.