By Collin Kelley
I have a tradition that’s been going on since I was a teenager: on the first day of September, I put on the song “September” by Earth Wind & Fire. I had the 45 rpm, then cassette, then I had it on greatest hits CD and now I just stream it off Spotify.
I’m turning 45 in September, which isn’t really a milestone birthday, but along with flying off to London to see Kate Bush (not once, but twice!) and read poetry, I decided to buy myself a new record player so I could listen to the 100 or so vinyl records collecting dust in my closet.
I bought the record player cheap on eBay and it’s one of those retro, briefcase looking ones with two built-in speakers. It’s ridiculously low-fi, but I love it just the same. I love the ritual of unpacking an LP from the sleeves, admiring the artwork, reading the lyrics and that satisfying little pop and crackle when you put the needle on the record.
I hauled out my record collection, which ranges from Billie Holiday and Miles Davis to Dusty Springfield and Fleetwood Mac (and lots of ’80s one-hit wonders), and spent an afternoon spinning the platters. I was also editing copy for this issue and had to keep getting up to turn the record over, nudge the needle when it hit a scratch, and adjust the volume. Spotify, which seemingly has every song or album ever made, judged me silently from my desktop. But you can’t beat the sound of record, and I’m not ashamed to admit I was boogying back and forth to my desk. Time to stop in Wax ‘n Facts and Wuxtry for some new LPs. Dig it!
And what was I editing between flipping those records? The new restaurant roundup, a list of hip and happening festivals, the world premiere of my poetry pal Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard at Alliance Theatre, the bounce back of the condo market, a special back-to-school section and much more.