Archives for posts with tag: CBC

Episode 1: Bring on the vinyl!

Listening to these makes me so happy! Who, but Rod Stewart, would wear a bright pink suit jacket and match the background to it? Also, am I the only one looking forward to the Tears For Fears “Songs From The Rocking Chair” LP??? I mean, it’s still a good 20-30 years away, but I’m looking forward to it!

After years of listening to music only through my mobile or computer, it was time to get back to listening to music the way it is meant to be heard (other than in person, at concerts, of course!). I love having music in the background while I work, write and read. I come by this honestly, as they say. There was always music playing in the house growing up. My parents both played instruments and sang (note: do NOT ask me to sing if you value your ears!). With twelve of us living under one roof, you often found more than one source of music playing. The best was the sound system in the living room with the record player, radio and tape deck.

With stores closed, I went online and found this beauty by Victrola. They have many different designs, and I was drawn to the retro look. I can not tell you how much I LOVE IT!

My new toy, which provides hours and hours of joy.

As much as I had been looking for a record player, I was happy to find Victrola (hey, might as well call her that) also plays cd’s, mixed tapes, FM, USB and has bluetooth connection for all the music on my iPhone. Perfect! Of course I also decided to purchase the stand – need somewhere to put the LP’s I’m going to be buying!

I was so excited when it arrived. First I took out my cd’s, which had been in storage for over seven years. Funny enough, when they arrived in Montreal and I unpacked them, one of my nieces laughed and said, “who listens to cd’s anymore!” Um, this girl, that’s who! Back to my Matthew Good, David Gray, Live, George Michael, Nora Jones, Ben Harper and so many more.

Thankfully retail opened up again, and with it came the overwhelming desire to run to a vinyl shop. What will I buy? What will I buy? I needed to limit myself so as not to blow the bank account.

Yes, clearly I enjoy me some Adam Ant. From Dirk Wears White Sox to today. If you ever come across his biography “Stand & Deliver”, just buy it. The time in which he grew up in London, and the people in his circle, are fascinating – as is the remainder of his story. And then there’s Robbie Robertson. LOVE this album. If you want more on him, watch the “Once Were Brothers” documentary (about him and The Band). He too has an amazing story, has played with other incredible musicians – and is Canadian!

I have no idea what happened to the LP’s I used to have. Apparently I have two old boxes at my brother G’s house. He bought our family home, and my boxes have been there since I finished university and set out for London. I hope they include a few albums, and look forward to finding out (and generally to seeing what the heck they contain – it’ll be like opening a time capsule).

The crackling of the needle as it first settles onto the rotating vinyl makes my heart sing. And then the music kicks in. It’s amazing that this is still the best way to capture all the subtleties of what’s been recorded. We really owe it to those born in the age of digital music to sit them down and have them listen to vinyl. There’s nothing like it. I am heartened by one of my nephews recently asking for (and receiving) a turntable. More and more youngsters are finding their way to vinyl.

Sitting on the floor, pouring over the album cover and the inner sleeve with its photos and lyrics as the album plays was always an exciting part of getting a new LP. I can confirm it still is – even if these are songs I already know.

I’ve also rediscovered radio. In particular CBC. I used to listen to the radio a lot – even slept with it on for years. I’m really enjoying the varied programming CBC provides. For instance, as I write this, a Sarah McLachlan concert from about 10 years ago is playing. Haven’t listened to her in ages, and man, that voice! Over March break they had children under the age of 18 call in to say how they were dealing with a break where they can’t see their friends (um, let me tell you, a lot of six-year olds are playing chess!!!). There are comedy shows, literature shows, a multitude of cultural shows, and so much more.

Victrola may be a small, compact unit, but she sounds really, really good. Definitely the best thing I’ve purchased in a while.

Well, along with the albums of course! I’m rationing myself, so that I don’t buy everything at once. I also find I get overwhelmed trying to pin down what I want to buy next – there is such a thing too much choice! Every now and again something makes its way from the back of my brain and a lightbulb goes off. It happened to me last week. Out of nowhere, I thought “The Psychedelic Furs!” I now eagerly await the arrival of two of their LP’s.

It’s an eclectic collection for sure. It will likely continue to be so as it grows, which quite frankly, is the perfect definition of me.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

Sometimes just stepping off, or jumping, into the unknown is in and of itself the victory. Sometimes venturing out of our comfort zone is really what it’s all about, no matter the result.

Last week was a bit of a test for me in this regard. For the first time ever, I submitted a piece of work to a writing contest. Actually, I submitted pieces to two contests.

The first one was easier for me. It’s the CBC non-fiction contest. The only criteria was a word count of no more than 2000. And clearly, it must be non-fiction. Done. Submitted. I like that little story – but then it’s about my life, or rather a certain experience I look back at fondly. So of course I like it. To this competition, I even submitted a second piece! It’s much shorter, and about my first memory.

Cool. Felt good to submit.

Now comes the waiting to see what, if anything, comes of it. And I do mean wait… The “long list” gets published in September. Ugh. I’m sure there are a great many entries, so it’s not that surprising. Still, I’d like to know sooner than that! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I expect to win or even be long-listed. I’d just like to know. I guess I still need to learn how to just let it go and accept the not knowing. Always a work in progress!

Then there’s the second competition. A piece of fiction, which had to include a black notebook and a $20,000 windfall, and be between 600-2000 words. For some reason, this one felt uncomfortable. So much so, I nearly didn’t submit! I went back and forth in my head – I will, it’s a good little story. I won’t, it’s just a silly story. I will. I won’t. And on and on.

At the last minute, I did. Why not? I’d done the work, so might as well. And this one is actually already published online. Maybe that’s why it made me feel uncomfortable – knowing it would be there, living online. It’s a site called Vocal – a forum for writers to submit their work, build readership, enter competitions (with prize money) and even make a little money. The more your work is read, the more money you make. It’s not a lot of money, mind you – it certainly won’t make you rich, but hey. Why not?

Shameless self-promotion side-bar. Would you take a few minutes to read my piece? As a new contributor to the site, it would be good for my profile. And if you want to “like” my piece, that would be awesome too. And really, NO PRESSURE! Apparently you need to sign up to be able to “like”, and that could be taking things too far. If it is, just step away.

Ugh…enough of that.

If you had told me a year ago that I would write and submit three pieces to two competitions, I would have looked at you sideways and said “really?” I’ve always enjoyed writing, but hadn’t put much thought into it. Now that I have done this, I feel a sense of accomplishment. That’s right, whether my work is deemed worthy of a prize or not, it feels amazing simply to have sent it in.

Sometimes you just need to take that step. Even if it feels like you’re jumping off a swing into the abyss. What’s the worst that can happen? People won’t like what I’ve written? Oh well. Not everyone’s going to think my pieces are fun, or good or exciting or well-written. I’m not trying to please everyone. I’m just writing, and putting it out there.

And the putting it out there feels good. The putting it out there is the accomplishment.