This post is not entirely about food. But then again, is food ever entirely about food?
A few weeks ago, I bought a turntable. And while this may sound like an impulse buy, it was actually somewhat planned. After all, I’d heard that vinyl was making a comeback. I was a child of the Seventies, after all. I grew up with vinyl. I know this medium.
But I also grew up with velour, Disco, and the Oil Crisis. Needless to say, I was skeptical.
The first LP I ever bought with my own money was ELO’s Greatest Hits. I must have played that record a 1,000 times. I was a huge ELO fan. (For those of you born after 1975, “ELO” stands for “Electric Light Orchestra.”)
After lunch, I walked over to Seasick Records. I had committed myself to a turntable after my second beer. I then checked out the selection of records. I was back in 6th grade—Van Halen and The Police—trying to figure out how to ask Renee C. to the dance.
So what does buying a turntable have to do with food?! Give me time, I’ll get there.
Let’s start with digital. Why do we like it? Because it’s convenient. With my iPhone, I can play anything from Tibetan wedding music to the latest crap from Kayne without getting my ass off the sofa. With analog, I actually have to think about the album. I also have to get up; walk across the room; and flip that disc over. Vinyl also requires you to think about what the artist was thinking.
Is this guy ever going to talk about food?!
Food is too easy these days. We can go to Whole Foods and grab something prepared, and it's not too bad. Heck, we can get some decent stuff at Publix or the Pig for that matter. There’s microwave this; delivery that. And that’s digital music. Its convenient and not bad. Even food trucks make gourmet easy.
So, what is the comparison with vinyl and food? Vinyl is about getting up and going to the farmer’s market and buying fresh produce. Vinyl is about grabbing that cookbook with the unbroken spine and trying something new. Vinyl is about making up your own recipe. Vinyl is about eating with friends.
Vinyl requires deliberativeness. It requires you to think about which album (the whole thing) you want to play. What is your mood? Angry? Tired? Conflicted? And it requires you to stick with that album, just like you need to stick with that recipe that you promised your dinner guests you would make.
Vinyl, like food, is about commitment.