My listening space

Working from home is an interesting thing. Aside from some freelance web design, I’ve always gone to an office every day to work. I’m accustomed to wearing dress shirts and ties, hitting the drive through for a morning coffee and having lunch breaks with co-workers and friends. Since March of this year I have been working from home, which I enjoy. I have no return-to-work date yet.

My home office is actually not really an office – it’s the downstairs (extra) kitchen in our house. The house was built as a 2-unit rental, but we own both units and combined them to suit our large family. I have a desk in there, as does Jessica, and we also use it as a pseudo-storage space for all my junk.

Last week, I decided that cleaning my disaster of an office area was necessary if I was to continue to enjoy working from home. I spent days de-cluttering and re-organizing, and in the process found things I love that had been neglected because they were either buried or inconvenient to access. One of those things was my turntable and record collection. I situated my desk in a better location in the office and set up my stereo system directly behind me. This way I can listen to records while I work and not need headphones.

My stereo system consists of a Kenwood receiver, Kenwood single-disc CD player, Akai direct-drive turntable and a pair of Yamaha NS-10M Studio speakers. It’s a modest setup, but it sounds pretty good. I just need to find a decent dual cassette deck.

Difficult is sometimes better

Spotify is great, and YouTube is fantastic – you can find almost anything you want in a click or two. But there’s something to be said for putting in a bit of effort. The difficulty level with listening to vinyl is one of the things I enjoy the most. I like the process of finding a record, turning on the components, cleaning the vinyl and dropping the needle. I also love the fact that it’s much more inconvenient to skip a song. This results in listening to entire sides of an album rather than just the same tracks over and over. It’s a process. A ritual.

I have a large record collection, probably about 1500 LPs. It’s not the rare/near-mint/early pressing kind of vinyl that hipsters fawn over. My collection is the amalgamation of other collections inherited from many before me. My mom, my dad, various family and friends not to mention the obligatory goodwill and garage sale finds. All of these records are “players”. There are flaws and scratches. The sleeves and jackets are in rough shape for the most part. There are artists I’ve never listened to or heard of, and plenty of duplicates of popular ones. Classics from the 1950s and ’60s, prog-rock ’70s and new wave ’80s. My newest record is Radiohead’s Kid A from 2000, on double 10″ vinyl.

As I write this, I am happily listening to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, which I haven’t heard in years.