Tag Archives: Paul Simon

Through reading glasses

Long ago, it seems now, I was entranced by a Paul Simon song called ‘Proof.’ It’s 1990 and I listen to his ‘Rhythm of the Saints’ album over and over again on my brand new first CD player, particularly to hear this song about ageing:

“It’s true, the tools of love wear down
Time passes
A mind wanders
It seems mindless, but it does
Sometimes I see your face
As if through reading glasses
And your smile, it seems softer than it was”

I’m in the middle of being thirty something at the time so this song, curiously beguiling as it is, feels like a message from a distant country which I can’t yet imagine visiting.

Nowadays I see everything I read and write through reading glasses.My previous blog post on here was a reflection on living as if I have a year left to go. Hoping I have many more but, at 63, knowing it would be a misguided conceit to carry on calling myself middle aged. In that post I wrote that all posts from now on would have to pass the test of ‘Would I bother writing this if I thought I had  year to live?’ Since then I’ve wondered ‘Well what exactly am I going to write about?’

I know there’s going to be a lot more Liverpool than there’s been on here lately. Not because it’s necessarily any more special than where you live but because it’s my home,  where I’ve chosen to live the whole of my life. There’ll also be more about people I know or meet who are doing good things that I want more people to know about, because I like helping out people I judge to be making their corner of the world into a kinder place.

Beyond these, well what? Continue reading

The return to vinyl. What would you get first?

As you may know, three months ago I decided to step back in time and get some LPs again. It had been 23 years since I’d sold off my collection and I was missing the sound and the ceremony of them.

So I ordered a turntable and set off joyously on my LP search. I’ve already written about the places I went to find them, so today I thought I’d write a bit about the LPs themselves. Like, what LPs would you buy first after a quarter of a century’s separation from them?

'Seasons will pass you by' The beauty of the gatefold.

‘Seasons will pass you by’ The beauty of the gatefold.

As I set out I made only one condition. I would look for perfect albums. All good tracks, no fillers. Remembering all too clearly the numbers of my original haul of 3,000 or so that didn’t come anywhere near doing this. Even LPs by very, very good people could be very, very poor. Yes, you David Bowie (‘Tonight’) and even you Joni Mitchell (‘Dog eat dog’).

But I didn’t set out with a list, no point. Hunting mostly in charity shops or in record shops with relatively small vinyl sections, there was no point. It was a case of seeing what I could find.

‘So go on then, tell us, What did you find?’ I can hear you impatiently reading. Continue reading

The return to vinyl, finding the LPs

It’s three months now since I wrote about my decision to get a turntable and start buying LPs again. So I thought it was time to write a bit about how I’m getting on. Hardly earth changing stuff, but that’s the joy of running your own blog. Some days you can write about life and death, some days it’s the joys that come in between those defining events, like buying LPs.

vinyl_record_446So, how’s it going? Fairly well, thanks for theoretically asking. From a solitary LP the first time I wrote there are now nearly 40 of them sat next to the turntable in our living room. Which would have been a heavy investment if they were all new. But mostly they’re not.

I’d envisaged exploring new music on vinyl but haven’t much, yet. Because I’ve found that most LPs of new music are in fact doubles, but strange doubles. Continue reading

‘Where’ve you been?’

On returning to Probe Records

I’ve been going to Probe Records since it started, up Mount Pleasant in Clarence Street, back in 1971. It’s in its fifth location around Liverpool now, and the truth is, I haven’t been there much lately. Over the years I have bought a few CDs from Probe, but I always felt CDs weren’t really what it’s about. Vinyl has always had pride of place at the centre of the shop and all over the walls, and it was vinyl I was returning there for today.

On the bus, going into town to hunt for LPs.

On the bus, going into town to hunt for LPs.

After my last post about returning to LPs, the turntable I’d ordered suddenly turned up sooner than I’d expected. So I spent a happy couple of hours on Friday afternoon putting all its bits together and finding my hands still remembered how to do arcane things like ‘balance the tonearm’ and ‘check the stylus is aligned.’ Things I’d never expected to do again in my life. Then in the early evening, both working, we’d had Spotify and iTunes playing in the background as usual. Until, work over, we moved through to the living room to listen to our one LP, purchased from Oxfam on Thursday afternoon, just after I’d ordered the turntable. And it was beyond wonderful. Continue reading