Back in the groove... with Katt Cullen
WRS Mid Morning Mix presenter Katt Cullen is actually a born listener – and loves it when you call in with your stories. Not only does it make great radio, but sometimes Katt finds herself off on a mission...
I recently received a call on the Mid Morning Mix from a lady who said she had an old record player and would the DJs at WRS like to have it? I didn't have the heart to enlighten her that programming the playlist is really about "dragging and dropping" mp3s, but she was desperate for someone to come round and take a peek before an imminent move. She also wondered if she was sitting on a vinyl-playing goldmine? She wasn’t.
After chatting for a while, she insisted that I come to have a look. Well, the next afternoon - with my show prepped - I went to meet her in the centre of Geneva. (Just to be safe I told lots of people where I was going – like on a blind date). Stepping through the door of her apartment, the scene was just as I had begun to suspect – an emporium brimmed with history, crockery and the smell of old wood.
The lounge was piled high with clothes, newspapers, fake flowers and old bicycle tools ... The record player, of course, was the other side of said piles. It literally took a small jump to reach it. I dusted it off, apologised for not being the pro she was hoping for (she was definitely convinced that we spin vinyl at WRS), and lugged it downstairs.
The next evening was spent cleaning it and trying to fix it up. There was a dodgy connection to the speakers and the turntable needed a good dusting, but it worked beautifully with some borrowed records. Watching the discs spin was like seeing the music in front of me. It worked on multiple senses.
The first crooning sounds that came through the speakers were those of a sultry female vocal and with the loud crackle, it could have been the 60s! I lay on the rug, kicked up my legs and hugged the speaker to hear better. I held it close, trying to tune out the crackle and tune into the melody, watching the disc spin under the needle. In that moment, I was convinced that she was singing to me and only me and I soaked up every note like a sponge.
Holding the record was like holding music in my hand. There was something infinitely satisfying about the whir and the click and the connection before the music began. It was manual and clunky, but somehow smooth and satisfying.
Unfortunately I don’t really have the space for this giant machine. Eventually a vinyl-loving friend came over and he talked me into a swap. He promised to fix it and provide a good home in return for a cook-up! I’m not sure who got the best deal. It really depends on how good a cook he is, I guess.
After all that, was going and fetching the record player, cleaning it, tweaking it and eventually relocating it really worthwhile? For a few golden minutes of music lying on my rug, appreciating every note - yes it was. I now have a new appreciation for vinyl and plan to buy a smaller record player. In fact you’ll soon be finding me flicking through the LPs at your local record store...