Recently I went to a record fair at the Oh Yeah centre, Belfast. It’s the first one I’ve been to in years. My collection consisting of records I’ve collected most of my life and some given to me by friends and family who long thought the format dead. Records have always been more than just the music to me, often igniting a memory previously locked away in the mind. For the two hours I was there I found myself internaly reminiscing about the records I already bought or the ones that got away. Regaling myself with the myths and lores behind the album covers or recordings. Having stolen a few hours away from my newborn son I imagined telling him the stories while listening to the classics, passing on my love of vinyl to him. Hoping the songs will soundtrack his life as much as they have mine.
After carefully selecting a small fraction of the albums needed out of the black sea of vinyl I remembered how these records make me feel. I also remember that I’ve written about my love for vinyl before and that writing was turned into a short segment entitled ‘NEEDLE DROPS‘ in my debut feature ‘THE MONDAY CLUB‘. I’m proud that my words were turned into a great one take monologue. Filmed in Dragon Records Belfast on July 6th 2014, with a small but hugely talented crew I think the love of music and in particular Vinyl shines through.
Needle Drops – Original Monologue
by Brian Mulholland
I love when the needle drops and settles into the groove of a record as the turn table revolves, it’s the beginning of something, something magical and I’m partial to its abracadabra. That crackle before the first note is like a camp fire struggling to burn dead wood on a cold winter’s night. I crave the anticipation of that first sound. That first note of music you know, or are about to be introduced too. It’s the chase before the capture. Then, then the song begins and you start to thaw by the warmth of the sound.
If my life is a record then the first place you can drop the stylus on is a track called Functional family.
Dads singing along during his morning shave, Mums hips gyrate as she irons countless dresses. Music birthing a blood nicked face and well pressed clothes. Lovers sway to the Friday night music as the children spy with ears and eyes. 2p on the needle so the record won’t skip. Spousal accusations yelled in-between tracks, Answers discovered in music and song. The needle the damage undone. Records age but they never get old.
I select the music I’ll spend time with and release the vinyl from its cardboard prison. They’re not album covers, they’re Passports. Where will I go to tonight? Nebraska, a hotel in Californian, The dark side of the moon? Mum was right, the best songs, the best songs take you places. I feel my mood affirmed as the needle ploughs through microscopic dust, journeying onward delivering rhythmic answers to life’s questions. The platter spins so the world keeps turning. My dad always said the best songs tell stories. Songs that are an antidote to emotional sabbaticals or unforced sadness. Songs that ask questions and songs that offer answers. Music that defeats the inner enemy. Because a rolling vinyl gathers no dross. When I was a girl our house was always filled with music. My dad would sing along while he shaved, I mean he hadn’t a note in his head but at the same time its hard to enunciate with your mouth like that
The young woman mimics her dad singing while trying to shave
“The first cut is the deepest”. My dad was a DJ in the 70’s, so there was a soundtrack to my life when I was a kid. I`d watch him shave in absolute awe as he sang along to his records. He had hands like paws; I could barely see the razor he held from my low vantage point but the tiny hairs gathering on the shaving foam in the sink confirmed a blade. It always reminded me of chocolate sprinkles on vanilla ice cream. The unwanted blood like strawberry sauce. He was human after all. My job was to change or flip the records. There is no skip button or scrubbing forward on vinyl. its an art to drop a needle in the perfect place. I learned all the classics that way, He`d turn to me each time the razor left his skin to sing the lyrics to me. I was his audience, I was his daughter. The day my mother told me my daddy was gone I didn’t believe her. My young mind struggling to make sense. “he wouldn’t leave without his records”. My mum took me to our record player and handed me a box and said “they’re your records now. A note from my now absent father in the sleeve of his favorite album read “all the answers you’ll ever need”. You grow up and learn quickly to flip over the album to chase away the silence. The platter spins and the world keeps turning. 2p on the needle so the record won’t skip. Vinyl is reflective, Vinyl is a black mirror.