Christmas in consumer electronics is a double edged sword. On the one hand we look forward to seasonal upward variation in the happy sound of the till going ching. On the other we suffer the slings and arrows of everything that breaks down the day before Xmas and the lack of a proper day off other than Jesus birthday.

As a very specialist store we tend not to be on the major radar for the οἱ πολλοί pre Christmas gift frenzy unless directed by an enthusiast family member. However this year without a doubt the star of Bethlehem for the Hi Fi present was the … record player …

We completely sold out of turntables on Christmas Eve …

The last few were clearly planned self present purchases … and were accompanied by an amp and speakers … I was suffering major 1979 flashback syndrome, they were even listening to Fleetwood Mac Rumours …

The minor revolt against digital in the form of the reincarnation of Vinyl has been much written about, I especially like the Telegraph article “Antidote to rampant capitalism at 33 and one third revolutions per minute”.

In minor desperation I phoned some irregular suppliers of record players seeking more stock … only to find of course that they were also completely sold out.

One is reminded of the narrative in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel “Soul Music” where rock and roll comes alive in the city of Ankh Morpork and the guitar shop owner has all his Christmas come at once …

A quick count shows that we have now roughly twenty record players on display … at one stage in the nineties we just had a Rega Planar Two and Three … albeit they were often used to show to a potential client just how much better an LP could sound than a CD.

This makes them at least equal to surround amplifiers in inventory quantitative content, and indeed in the last month we would have more people coming in for LP replay devices than we have had for surround sound amplifiers. For a traditional Hi Fi store this is an excellent market place phenomena. If only they had paid attention to us in the nineteen eighties then they wouldn’t have closed down all those record pressing companies …

My own take on the analogue uptake is that it represents a realisation that the download of an MP3 is a dumbed down and sterile rendition of the music. A very beautiful lady described the listening of an LP to me as “a way of honouring the performance” of the musician.

Meanwhile in the real world of consumer electronics retailing televisions are being sold below retailers cost to fight for the death for market share … even the intervention of the Queen has failed to save 3D TV and the Japanese majors are praying for military confrontation with North Korea so as to stimulate their manufacturing cash flows.

Happy New Year

Rab Turner and Crew