Flashback Friday – Vinyl

It’s always a neat feeling when I suddenly recall something I enjoyed as a child and realize that I likely enjoyed it as much as I did at least in part because I’m Autistic. These are generally things I enjoyed that were considered “odd” by most of my peers.

Take vinyl records, for example. I grew up listening to cassette tapes. CDs were either not around or still pretty expensive/unusual for a large part of my childhood.

Then, when I was middle-school aged I discovered record players and records. They were amazing! I loved them so much. I could get all the classical, jazz, big band, and oldie records I desired and they cost nearly no money at rummage and yard sales.

Even once CDs were available I frequently didn’t like the music that was on them. When I did manage to find the older music I liked on CD, it was often “remastered” or different in some other way from the versions I heard on the radio – maybe the lead singer for the group was different or it was even a cover band.

Any tiny little difference in the recording was unacceptable to me. I didn’t understand why the record companies wouldn’t release the “real version” (aka the version I was familiar with) and frequently railed against such distressing practices.

So! I sought out the music I loved in the form of vinyl records. They were the correct, familiar versions 99% of the time and even if they weren’t I was only out maybe $1 instead of $20 for an entire CD.

Sometimes when I only liked one of the songs on a record album, it would still be worth it to spend $1 and repeat that song over and over. If I was motivated enough I could even copy it, along with other favorite songs, to a cassette tape that was created exactly to my preferred specifications.

Anyhow, it occurred to me today while washing the dishes and listening to my Autistic child play a favorite song on YouTube repeat that another reason I loved record albums as a tween/teen was because there was no rewinding necessary. Compared to cassette tapes, I had much more control over how many times I heard each song and I could easily repeat or skip songs if I wanted to.

I began collecting record albums several years before they became “retro cool” and popular again. I never fit in with avid record collectors because our reasons for collecting were different, even though we seemed similar on the surface. I didn’t collect my records with an intent to have a collection – I collected in order to listen to the music I loved in the way that I could best enjoy at the time. I was just as happy if I could find the correct album on an affordable CD.

I now have control over my music in an even simpler form online, but I will always have a fondness for my beloved vinyl records.

Music has always been a vital part of my life and having it available in a form that’s enjoyable, familiar, and easy to control is priceless.

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