Along with pants that don’t seem to fit anymore and strange tufts of hair sprouting from my ears and nose, add to my signs of aging the odd looks I received after I began my search for a replacement belt for my turntable.
If you know what I’m talking about, you’re probably revealing your own age. If you don’t, include yourself in that group of people who had nothing but blank looks when I asked for a belt for an Onkyo CP1012F turntable.
The turntable, an early ’80s model, was as reliable as the day is long but, after decades of heavy use, the belt on the turntable finally disintegrated. And since the belt’s demise, I haven’t been able to play my collection of vinyl albums. Yes, you heard right. Records. LPs. Those flat, round, black objects that are kind of like compact discs but only bigger and more fragile.
Some ask why in the age of DVDs and CDs and digital everything else I want to repair such an old dinosaur. They say the comparatively poor sound quality of albums to CDs is enough to convince everyone to make the switch to digital. I, and many others, say the pops and hisses are small prices to pay for the warmth vinyl brings to any recording. Plus I’m too cheap to replace all those albums I’ve collected over the years. From The Kinks and Jerry Jeff Walker to Bessie Smith and Mozart, the music played on my old turntable has been a sort of a soundtrack to my life and converting it to digital would be too much like starting from scratch.
Those black vinyl records have been a part of my life for nearly as long as I can remember. My mom and dad still have their collection of albums. When I was a child I remember looking at my parents’ records and asking them to play them for me. Mom and Dad have mainly country/western albums from a time when country and western went together and country sounded like country, albums from a time before Jimmy Dean made sausage and Willie Nelson wore ponytails and a bandanna.
Mom and Dad’s old albums and 8-track tapes (if you ever want to experience a generation gap, try explaining what 8 tracks are to a pimple-faced stereo salesman who just pulled the entire back seat out of his car so he could have room to install subwoofers) sat that music monkey on my back so firmly that even now, years later with an out-of-commission turntable, I have to flip through every stack of records at every garage sale I visit.
Which puts me in the dilemma I’m in now. At this moment I have about 300 LPs and nothing to play them on because technology has virtually made them obsolete. All around me electronics manufacturers are promising me the digital world is the solution to all my problems. If only they knew. It’s like being stranded in a life raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and having no water to drink.
But as the saying goes, every drought is followed by rain. After only a couple of quick key punches on the Internet I’ve found a replacement belt for my Onkyo CP1012F.
My Blasters album should be blastin’ again shortly.