Tag Archives: Personal experiences

Fear And Loathing In Toronto: “Vinyl” Documentary Is Worth A Spin

30 Dec

Vinyl+film+poster+2000-1
Vinyl. A documentary film from 2000 by Alan Zweig.

Following the recommendation of one of my closest and most trusted record/movie addicts, I watched “Vinyl”, a celebrated documentary by Canadian filmmaker Alan Zweig. Five years in the making, Vinyl is (at times) a very dark film that is impossible to look away from. It’s also far too easy to identify with some of the attributes of Zweig’s cast of LP loving characters, as well as the solitary filmmaker himself.

In Vinyl, Zweig (an avid record collector), converses with the camera through a mirror, reflecting on his day-to-day life — killing mice, making mix tapes for himself — while lamenting the fact that he’d rather be putting together a bicycle for his yet-to-be born daughter. Aged 48 at the time, Zweig had unfortunately not yet found a wife to have said daughter with. If that isn’t sad enough, during the course of the film Zweig introduces us to some of his fellow audiophiles: collectors that run the gamut  from Coltrane obsessives, chain-smoking K-tel enthusiasts, to straight-up record hoarders. He explores basements and bathrooms filled with 45’s and 12″s, tries to reason with a fellow collector who no longer has room to move in his small apartment due to his vinyl obsession, is told by a friend that the reason he can’t find a wife is because he’s “too fat”, and celebrates New Year’s Eve alone. Again. It’s not surprising that half-way through Vinyl, you start to wonder if Zweig might have decided he’d be better off record shopping with Jimi Hendrix up in heaven.

Thankfully, Zweig’s story has a happy ending. Now 60, Zweig is happily married and a father to a daughter born in 2011. He has four more documentary style films to his credit that have been well received, and is currently filming his fifth full-length feature, “When Jews Were Funny”. Zweig says that the success of Vinyl “changed his life”.

It’s pretty easy to watch Vinyl in its entirety online, but I’m not going to be the one to tell you exactly where. I will however recommend that you follow Zweig, a self-described “late bloomer” (aren’t we all?) on Twitter.

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The Life and Times of a Vinyl Junkie

10 Dec

ImageHello world and welcome to my first blog post! My name is George, and I am a vinyl junkie. That may sound like an introduction at an AA meeting, but I don’t see this addiction as a bad thing. I just want to share my passion with the world.

I have always loved music, and found vinyl to be the best form of listening to it. I have lost quite a few albums through the years, but I still own the first album I ever bought with my own money (Hamilton Jo Frank and Reynolds). Sure….. back in the day I bought my share of cassette tapes, even owned lots of eight tracks, but vinyl is what lasts. When CDs got started, I held out as long as I could before I bought any of those. It wasn’t until I couldn’t find what I wanted on vinyl that I started buying them.

The size of my collection is currently around 4,000 albums, give or take. What I am most proud of is not the size, but the diversity. If you were to visit and wanted to hear some music, chances are that there is something you would like. Most of it is classic rock, because that is just what I like the most.

Now the “junkie” part I gave myself, because it is like an addiction. I love my collection, but the thrill really comes in the search for new, or as I like to call it, new-to-me records. I have driven as much as 700 miles in a weekend just to shop for records, and I have gone to yard sales in my own neighborhood. It’s all in the hunt! Another plus is that most record stores these days are “small” businesses, so when you go to buy records you are helping the local economy.

There are as many different reasons to collect vinyl as there are people to do so. It is a growing business, and there are a lot of good investments out there. Now I don’t know what a lot of records are worth, but I really don’t care. My collection is listened to, almost daily. I do own a couple of Beatles records that were appraised at over a thousand bucks, and I listened to them once then framed them (to both protect the covers and show them off).

I have been given many records by friends who just wanted to get rid of things they no longer wanted or needed. Kind of the whole “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” thing. If I came upon something I had not heard before, I would give it what I call the side one test. I listened to side one before I passed it on or kept it. I have found quite a bit of good music that way. So if you are just getting started in collecting vinyl or you have been doing it for years, don’t pass a record up if you don’t recognize it, you may lose out.

 -lucky g vinyl junkie