Stephen listens. I would excuse any of my friends for not listening to me, I talk a lot. I hope most of what I say is worth saying but I'll admit to rambling and saying whatever's on my mind often without thinking it through properly first. You'd be forgiven if you couldn't keep up and just tuned out now and again, but Stephen listens. More than that he takes things in and in the catacombs of his mind he has detailed files. Some time ago I regaled Stephen with my plans for when I win the lottery - the central premise of which was using the wide and varied expertise of my friends to acquire the top things in their respective arenas, in return for their help I would buy them the same. I would ask Stephen to design a sound system centred around a turntable.
Music is very important to me.
In his late teens Stephen had worked for Technosound in MK and has never really recovered. His love of sound and all things audio possibly exceeds his love of music, his knowledge and understanding is in-depth, and he has an exceptional ear. I've previously utilised his expertise to find some very good headphones without paying the world for them. You can take a dip into his mind at his blog ThinJetty. I have made no secret of how much I covet Stephen's sound system and have always wanted a turntable of my own but with my entire music collection digitally a record player seemed a decadence that I couldn't justify.
We've always agreed that the physicality of vinyl is fundamentally pleasing, the practical nature of how sound is produced means so much more than the 1's and 0's of digital music. Hearing the needle make sound without amplification gives me a weird amount of joy because I can understand how it works, simple mechanics and vibration in action - the same as dragging your nail down a rough surface. There's also something very pleasing about the deliberateness of putting on a record that has been lost with the convenience of digital music. It's too easy I find for music to be played without much thought - not sure what you want to hear? Just hit shuffle, thousands of songs at the touch of a button. But some albums, good albums, deserve to be listened to in their entirety. There's artistry in the music that goes far beyond single songs. Add to that richer sounds and album sleeves big enough to do the artwork justice and listening to vinyl is clearly an experience that goes far beyond just listening to a song.
"Life is like a record... it goes around and around."
Anyway Stephen had listened and been amused by my idea and it turns out had stored it away for later use. When I got married Stephen and his better half gifted us 2 lottery tickets and, just in case they weren't winners, a record player! It is a Linn LP12 reconditioned by Peter Swain of Cymbiosis, a turntable born in '81 - a nod to the year my new wife's birth. My wife it should be noted has been extremely cool about the gift which went quickly from "our gift from the Broadhursts" to "my record player". In her words: "they bought something they knew would make you happy knowing that that would make me happy!" She went on to say that we ought to get somewhere proper for it to live - evidence, if evidence was needed that I'm very lucky.
Stephen listens and, now I have a Linn LP12 Record player, I can do likewise.
If you want to hear Stephen talking about Hifi you can find him at ThinJetty