Oh So Cold!

I’ve been undertaking a little online Christmas shopping this morning. For the uninitiated a little online shopping is similar to big online shop, just with fewer purchases.

I’m uncertain of the gift volume parameters for differentiating if retail procurements are little or big in size. The nearest guidance from my normally erudite adult son Jonny brought no clarity when he proffered an unhelpful “Big shops are when you buy s**t loads of stuff.”

In the absence of a more objective response, I embraced Jonny’s subjective guidelines. Consequently, as yours truly didn’t buy s**t loads of stuff online, I’ve concluded my surfing for yuletide trinkets sits under the ‘little’ umbrella…… Bloody hell, I bet you’re glad you started reading this aren’t you!!

“What presents, and for whom, did you buy, Gary?” I can hear you cry…… Well, that’s if you haven’t left this party already after the hooey penned in the first three paragraphs.

As a bit of background, last weekend I bought Jonny and his sister Rachel a portable record player and a couple of vinyl albums each. Items I duly gift wrapped, and forwarded to Santa Claus for onward socially distanced delivery early on Christmas morning….. Yes, I also find it hard to believe, at the ages of 30 and 27, they still believe in the fat white bearded fella.

This morning, with Christmas present money procured from their grandma (my mum), I purchased my two progeny a further two albums each for onward delivery to St Nick.

The artists work magnanimously bequeathed by their grandma performed by Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Rag & Bone Man and George Ezra. The first two taken from a list of options provided by Jonny; the latter two vinyl albums are song collections I thought Rach would like.

If she doesn’t, all I can say to my youngest child is “Well you should’ve bloody responded to my request asking which albums you’d desire……Like your brother did!”

Around a decade ago when vinyl first made its initial comeback, I located my childhood/young adulthood vinyl collection in my mum and dad’s garage. A domain where, for over two decades, it’d lain unloved in a cardboard box covered by a car rug.

Flicking through the dusty album covers was a brio filled hour or so. Me becoming reacquainted with some of absolute classic albums procured in the 1970’s/80’s.

Amongst the artists work cocooned in the cardboard receptacle were iconic LP’s from David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, The Jam, The Police, Phil Collins, The Beatles and The Who, to name a few.

Each album and 12″ single, which also lay dust covered and unloved in this container, the soundscape to my teenage and young adult years. Anthems, which played out during my first kiss, first pub drink and first nightclub visit.

Some of the refrains those I’d heartily sung while attempting to drunkenly navigate my way home in the early 1980’s. Behaviour which, in an era where I cared what people would think of me, resulted in me idiotically berating myself for days, sometimes weeks.

These albums/singles pub backdrop music which’d infiltrate revellers lugs while, during cold winters North East England evenings, we’d attempt thaw out in the Half Moon public bar.

This onset of hypothermia a consequence of walking between Newcastle taverns bereft of a coat (and seemingly common sense) on utterly freezing nights.

As I’ve not drank in a Newcastle for decades, I’m unsure if the practise still applies. However, I can unequivocally vouch the cliche of north east folk socialising coatless in any clime wasn’t a myth.

This uncoated habit embraced despite some evenings being so cold even penguins wouldn’t turn out for a pint. Siberian nights when the only black and white on view in the Half Moon pub were punters Newcastle United football shirts.

Anyhow, after Mr Claus’s dropped off my 30 year old son’s record player on 25th December, I’m hoping Jonny’s less heavy handed these days when applying stylus to vinyl disc.

His first attempts at utilising this device almost concluded with him scratching a classic Who album of mine. This LP, which’d survived decades in my dad’s garage without damage, nearly made unplayable by my offspring’s heavy-handedness.

My lad’s clumsy dropping of the player’s stylus arm resulted in it bouncing across record. Consequently, creating a scratching sound similar to the high pitched screech Quint emitted in the Jaws scene by scraping fingernails down the Amity town hall blackboard.

Chuffing hell, Rachel has just messaged me to tell me she doesn’t like the artists of the vinyl albums I bought her this morning……. Does anyone want to buy a Rag And Bone Man or George Ezra LP?

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