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Rediscovering vinyl in the age of social isolation

Vinyl is about the tactile analogue experience that's been lost in the digital age.

Vinyl is about the tactile analogue experience that’s been lost in the digital age.Credit:Alamy

As we all spend more time around the house, now is the perfect opportunity to spin our desert island discs. A few weeks ago, which seems like a lifetime, my seventy-year-old Mum sent me a WhatsApp message asking how much a decent turntable costs these days. You don’t expect signs of the apocalypse to arrive by instant messaging, but I guess even Armageddon has to move with the times.

It turns out I had Mum and Dad’s old turntable, gathering dust on the shelf in my home office. I think they gave it to me for safekeeping when they repainted the lounge room, and forgot to ask for it back.

I thought I should check that it still works before returning it, so I moved the turntable into the dining room and hooked it up to a great pair of old speakers that I rescued from a neighbour’s nature strip long before my teenage children were born. To test it out, we reached for the most precious vinyl in our home, a copy of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band bequeathed to my wife by her father.

We gathered the children and they watched in awe as I gently lowered the needle onto their grandpa’s favourite LP. The sound crackled to life, the orchestra pit warmed up and then that iconic opening guitar riff filled the room.

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