Ziggy Stardust would surely approve of Edinburgh's vinyl revival – Susan Dalgety
Do you remember the first album you bought? Mine was David Bowie’s Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, from 1972.
I still have a copy, though it’s not the one I picked up in our local electrical store 50 summers ago.
I found it on eBay a few years ago when my husband and I started to re-collect the vinyl we had previously dumped in favour of CDs, then streaming. Of course, there is no logic – and definitely no financial sense – to buying music you already have on your phone, but there is something magical about vinyl.
The simple act of taking the record out of its sleeve and placing it carefully on the turntable adds to the anticipation of that first track. I still find Five Years haunting, even more so since the pandemic struck.
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And album covers are an art form. I recently made a pilgrimage to Heddon Street in London, where Bowie posed in a turquoise jumpsuit for Ziggy’s iconic cover.
Did I feel a bit stupid standing against a nondescript painted brick wall, outside number 23, to get my picture taken? A little, perhaps, but at least I was wearing a winter coat and tartan scarf, with a suede bag slung across my shoulder, not a Freddi Burretti designer outfit accessorised with a guitar and black vinyl boots. Now, that would have been faintly ridiculous.
It's great news then for vinyl junkies that HMV is returning to Princes Street next month, and that it will focus on records 90 years after RCA Victor unveiled the world’s first vinyl disc.
Edinburgh has always had brilliant independent record shops, from Bruce’s in Rose Street which was the place to go in the seventies and early 1980s, to the latest store, Almond River Records in Corstorphine. And with vinyl making up nearly a quarter of album sales in 2021, there is clearly an appetite for good music on disc, and not just from oldies like me.
HMV will also provide a welcome boost to Princes Street, which in recent years has taken on a rather abandoned air. And that is sure to be a hit with everyone.