Author Archives: Brad
I’ve been immersing myself in the process of restoring order and playability to my extensive vinyl LP collection this month, while building an inexpensive stereo system to play them back on. Some of the records haven’t survived the 3 or 4 years of storage they were subjected to. They were all packed properly on their edges in boxes and kept off the ground so they wouldn’t get damp. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered a few that have developed milky swirls under the surface of the vinyl – presumably mould. A few have also grown bumps, which I believe is called vinyl cancer. In all my years of collecting vinyl – since my mid-teens – I haven’t encountered mould or cancer in my collection, so this has come as a bit of a shock to the system, and caused some regret for neglecting it for so long. Another thing I’ve noticed is that many of the record covers have come unglued along the bottom edge. Overall though I think most of it can be restored to life, and I’ve discovered some real treasures in the process.
One of those treasures is a collection of 130 LPs from the Australian World Record Club catalogue (of about 2000) that my Aunt Betty Harvey left me when she passed away a few years ago. They are in exceptional condition for the most part, and half the fun of sorting through these records has been in simply admiring the labels, cover art and reading the erudite descriptions that adorn the backs of the covers.
One of the covers that I’m rather taken with belongs to the Rossini box set, Il Barbiere Di Siviglia. Included is a “line-by-line libretto [linking] each phrase of the original text with an English singing version”. Not included is the name of the designer responsible for the cover! I haven’t been able to locate this art reproduced anywhere on the internet, so I’m no wiser. One of the designers who worked at the World Record Club studio in Melbourne has published ‘Its Another World Record — Album Cover Art’, celebrating their cover art designs of the late fifties and sixties. I have placed it on my list of books to acquire and read. I may find the answer there. In the meantime, I hope I’m not breaking any copyright rules by posting the image here for your enjoyment.
Now I’m going to listen to it! I listened to Liszt last night and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It seems an engaging visual and erudite description is all it took for me to discover the joys of classical and opera. I still like my folk and country rock though.
Next Saturday I will have been completely alcohol free for a year. I’ve lost 26 kilograms, regained a love for my life, and people who see me regularly are saying nice things about how well I’m looking. I’ve even reduced my tobacco usage by $200 a month.
If there’s a downside to recovering from manic depression (let’s just call it that and be done with it) and accepting the results of all the associated weird public behaviour that I’ve been responsible for during the last 5 years, it’s the awareness that I knew exactly what I was doing, even when I was drinking a full 1 litre bottle of whisky each weeknight and passing out in the laundry after vomiting in the wash tub. In fact, when I inspected this house I am renting there were two deciding factors that led me to apply for tenancy. Firstly, the undercover outdoor area where I could smoke and drink while reading and blogging. Secondly, the large metal wash basin in the laundry for me to vomit into and wash away the mess without too much fuss.
There was no particular reason for me embarking on the challenge of straightening my life up. I wasn’t dissuaded, for example, when I knocked three front teeth loose after one particular passing out event in the laundry. I simply grew tired of the fact that my body wouldn’t give in and give up my ghost. I kept waking up every morning and arriving early for work, and doing my work well, and leading an apparently normal life among my workmates. I didn’t try to make friends with anyone at work, and when people tried to be friendly with me I did my best to be polite and professional while remaining distant. I would even refuse Friday arvo beers and snacks.
There is no doubt a much longer story I could reveal here. If I were to continue on from here I would pause to quote Edward Dahlberg…
“When one realises that his life is worthless, he either commits suicide or travels.”
then I would counter it by noting that, while my initial response upon reading that quote recently was one of absolute agreement, I have found on further reflection upon my own experience that it’s quite possible to balance suicidal behaviour with travel. But to go any further from here I would need to explain how the kind of suicidal behaviour I was engaged in is equivalent to ‘committing’ suicide in the manner that Edward Dahlberg meant it. Frankly, I don’t want to go any further with it. I’ve moved on, and I don’t feel there’s anything more to be gained from dwelling on it. Nothing to be gained for me, and nothing more to be gained for anyone else.
I had a piece of furniture delivered today. Then I went out and bought a TV and a DVD player to put on it. It’s the first time in 5 years that I’ve allowed myself to buy anything that might pin me down to one place and dare me to call it my home. Soon I will buy a bed frame and stop sleeping on a mattress on the floor. I will still be traveling, but probably less often and not so far away from home.
If this were a dolphin performing a trick
of light with an arctic pear chandelier,
would mirrors be vases and sunflowers rust
on re-entry or visually similar?
If that were a theatre curtain drawn back
from an ocean wave passing your window,
would safety orange do for the dolphin
or would you prefer it tangelo?
If those were ripples in milk on the wall
and the arctic pear chandelier tinkling,
would force be the window, the window the load,
or the dolphin an armchair to brace in?