Vinyl Chapters writer Matthew Wand bravely takes us through his struggles during lockdown and how he came to rely on vinyl to keep him going.
The last two years have been a turbulent and uncertain time for the whole world. The COVID-19 pandemic has surged over the globe in numerous waves causing chaos, loss of life, political wrangling and the birth of unbelievable conspiracy theories. For the average joe, it has meant periods of social distance, restrictions and being locked down for months at a time. Out of this essential incarceration, people found solace in spending time with their immediate family, in exercising, baking, crafting and so forth. I took some comfort from these, but the activity that gave me the best serotonin rush has been buying vinyl records.
We are not talking the odd record delivery here or there, the fact I’m now on friendly first-name terms with the bunch of posties that work my road is a bit of an understatement. Don’t get me wrong it’s not been daily, but it’s been close at times. In the two years since the outbreak and first Lockdown, I’ve added 42% to my pre coronavirus collection. To add context that’s in excess of 200 LP, EP and 45s! This is not a story about flexing my vinyl muscle in public, it’s about survival, the only way I knew how.
I believed, like many people, that the COVID epidemic would be done and dusted within months. I was sent home by work via a government directive, expecting to be back in a working office in two weeks at the most. This proved to be very short-sighted on my part and as the realisation dawned on me the influx of records began.
I bought records I wanted, Vinyl I didn’t realise I needed, ISO’s (in search of), black vinyl, coloured vinyl. Splatter vinyl and some very expensive holy grails. Newly released music was consumed as was gap filling on my ever-growing collection. I grew an obsession with owning the colour variant of a record or purchasing more than one variant of the same album.
I’m under no illusion that the state of my mental health during this time has played a BIG part in my vinyl collecting of the last years, if we’re being honest the same state that has prevented me from putting pen to paper and writing for Vinyl Chapters.
If you are reading this, you will have an interest in records, even if it’s by proxy. But what is it about vinyl over streaming, downloads or CDs? It’s owning the music, physically owning the sound pressed into the wax, not digitally burnt onto a soulless compact disc, it’s the analogue sound, the cover and the inner sleeve. These were all here prior to COVID, so what was the lure?
The Lockdown, the oppression, the confinement bought one thing of buying records to the forefront. The vinyl chase. The release of happy hormones wasn’t just on playing the record. For me, it’s hunting for it and finding it online. The exhilaration of an online auction, or placing the order, tracking the parcel. Opening the door to Pete the Postman, carefully ripping into the mailer and sending that vinyl selfie to your mates before the ecstatic crescendo of playing the disc on your record player.
So, my secret is out. I am a vinyl junky! From the chase to the first play and everything in between is a little splice of happiness to behold. If you are a vinyl addict or a frustrated partner wondering why your house is littered with record-shaped boxes, I hope this little story has given some insight or empathy. On a side note, it’s great to be writing again for Vinyl Chapters whether this is the first of many more pieces or the very last hurrah, it is great to be back.