Saturday 20 March 2010
Dylan Jones: 'I wish I could say that the first single I bought wasn't Gary Glitter's 'I Didn't Know I Loved You', but it was
My world is full of pop paraphernalia. Like many Hornbyesque men of my generation, I have resolutely refused to throw away childish things. However, I have put them away, stuffed them into cupboards, under stairs, and behind wine racks – LPs, cassettes, VHS tapes, posters, flyers, old gig tickets, laminates (Live Aid! U2 at Meadowlands! Hannah Montana at Koko!), and two huge boxes full of the 200 or so seven-inch singles that I couldn't bear to part with. Of course I haven't played them in over a decade, but they sit there, undisturbed, like old holiday snaps, never to be thrown away – "Anarchy in the UK", "Wichita Lineman", "Girl on a Pony" (by Spike Milligan, because none of you knew that), "Do the Standing Still" (by The Table, because none of you knew that either).
Now I wish I could say that the first single I bought wasn't Gary Glitter's "I Didn't Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock'n'Roll)", but it was. I wish it had been David Bowie's "Starman", but it wasn't (I already had that on cassette, having taped it from the radio, but I know that doesn't count). Even the previous Gary Glitter record, "Rock'n'Roll Part 1", would have been better, cooler (at the time, anyway), but there you are. When you're 12 you don't tend to make history, you're just a victim of it. Still, as I handed over my hard-saved new pence, I felt as though I were moving from boyhood to adulthood, leaving shin pads and cub scouts behind, and embracing a world full of platform boots and chinchilla coats.
But vinyl is returning to my life in a big way, in the form of Morgan Howell and supersizeart.com. Howell paints enormous versions of classic singles (680mm square). So far he has painted 10, including "It's All Over Now" by the Rolling Stones (Decca), "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye (Tamla Motown) and "Ziggy Stardust" by David Bowie (RCA), which is the one I bought, the one that will soon be staring down at me from my study wall. They cost £375 each, although you can commission your own 45rpm favourite for £1,200 (I was toying with the idea of getting both sides of "Hey Jude"). Vinyl. It's back. In a big way.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'
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