Saturday, April 19, 2014

Feeling groovy

Today is Record Store Day.

How retro, you say? You may be surprised to learn that this is a very hipster occasion. Records – grooved discs played on a turntable (aka record player) with a stylus (aka needle) – are quite fashionable among the young. Especially the young with no money, as many used records are cheaper than a small latte. (New vinyl discs, on the other hand, can be outrageously expensive.)

WDCE at the University of Richmond, where I produce Letter V Classical Radio, festoons its studio wall with vinyl LPs and has two turntables, actually used by some of the station’s teen-age and 20-something DJs. A number of them dote on music that I was listening to when I was in my teens and 20s, back in the previous millennium. This makes me feel less elderly as I play music from the 1780s.

Checking the Yellow Pages (speaking of retro), I find eight record stores listed in the Richmond area. That’s not counting Goodwill stores, “antique” shops, flea markets and other places where you can find LPs, 45s, even 78s. (Also cassette tapes, which reportedly are becoming cool again. What’s next? Eight-tracks?)

A surprising number of these places stock classical records. I’ve even found mint-condition, sealed copies on occasion.

As you pursue other Saturday chores, take time to go record shopping. How many chances do folks like us get to be über-hip?