"What a refreshingly honest blog about listening to music through hi-fi. So happy to see views based upon the enjoyment of music rather than so-called sound 'quality'." - Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Mission / Wharfedale

Saturday 12 February 2011

In The Beginning

A warm coke fired Rayburn fire, my favourite Corgi, Dinky and Matchbox toy cars, the Hornby OO in the other room, Toad in the Hole with gravy and mash, the first proper bike with only 2 wheels (sky blue and red, as it happens), caravan holidays in Devon and the Yorkshire Dales, the kids next door, Dad's blue Hillman Avenger, the local park, the outside loo block at primary school and the big old Marconiphone Radiogram playing "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" - these are some of the clearest memories of my childhood.

There's a photo of the radiogram on the Images page.  I very much remember the sqeaky metal supports as the big front flaps covering the receiver controls and the record player hinged down. There was that smell that comes with hardwood furniture, the incredibly heavy looking white moulded plastic tone arm with the stylus you could turn, using the maroon "control" on the end of the tone arm - a needle for 78s on one side and a stylus for "microgroove" records on the other.  The receiver took a while to warm up - I presume it used valves, and the sound was very very warm and inviting.  A deep tone, but very little in the way of information, with vocals just part of the music rather than something distinctive.  It seems amazing to me now that 35 or more years later, this radiogram is such a vivid part of my memories.

I had to sit close, I assume this was to make it seem louder than I was allowed to play it, but I don't remember being asked to turn it down.  My brother is 4 years older than me, so he started buying music earlier than I did - I don't remember any albums on this machine, just 7" singles, particularly his Beatles music.  For me, the first single I bought was T-Rex's Solid Gold Easy Action.  I'm a child of the glam-rock era!

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