January 25, 2008 by Colin
As I made the transition into grown-up, collecting a full-time job, a marriage and a suburban home along the way, part of my youth remained sealed away – in a box of carefully collected and reluctantly ignored vinyl.
Limited editions, special imports, extremely overpriced rarities: they’re all there down in the basement. The cheap turntable of my teen years broke down long ago, to be abandoned for the trash pickers on Bathurst Street. The mix tapes lasted a little longer, but were eventually crushed under the weight of feet, coolers and seats on numerous road trips.
The result? Bands like the Merton Parkas, the Lambrettas, Selecter, and Makin’ Time receded in time, and in my memory.
One record prompted an unusual absence – The Truth’s Playground (on their MySpace) – despite its relative lack of sophistication. It was one of three cassettes I brought with me on an 18 hour trip between Toronto and New Delhi, and was played over and over in my Sony Walkman (the silver one, barely larger than the cassette itself. Don’t you remember? Sony was the Apple of the early 80s, with a new and cooler version of the Walkman every season!) as I sat on the tarmac at Heathrow during an interminable flight delay. I guess the album was burned into my sub-conscious.
Which is why I was surprised – and pleased – to find a glut of Truth-based material online in the past few months. YouTube videos. Mp3s. A concert recorded in 1983 (that doesn’t sound like it’s a dub of a dub)
It’s like the second-generation mods took ten years to jump onto the web revolution and start to use media sharing apps.
Which is understandable, since we’ve long been programmed to take our obsessions slowly: when I was a teenager, a new single from a British band could mean sending off a letter and a postal order to a shop across the Atlantic. From purchasing decision to delivery, it could take three to five weeks!
If I wanted to “build a conversation” with my favourite band, I either joined the fan club and wrote to the quarterly newsletter, or wrote off to the record label and hoped the snot nosed school leaver in the mail room felt inclined to pass my scrawlings along.
We’ve come a long way, baby.