… Angel’s sleeves?
If you are thinking fashion, no. If you’re thinking record albums, you’re with me.
Inspired by Tim King’s chronology of media, I took a step back a little further than he did and started to think about my assortment of vinyl records. I still have a good collection.
It started in high school. I could never do homework without some sort of background music. I know that the common logic at the time was that it was distracting. For me, it was the exact opposite. Having music in the background somehow allowed me to focus on what I was studying/doing. My worst performances came during formal tests and examinations where quiet was strictly enforced. In fact, as I write this post, I have a music channel turned on, on the television.
Moving to university, I had a roommate who had an incredible collection of records although he could have adopted any of the other forms of media available. I learned so much from him about the care and feeding of records! It carried over to my own habits for their use.
Being university-poor, it wasn’t uncommon for us to go to Market Square in Kitchener and just walk around wishing we could have this and that and that and … One of our stopping places was a stereo store. Where it exactly was and what name are long forgotten. I just remember that you had to go below screen level to get to it. We’d go in there and enjoy music on their high end equipment. The sound was perfect!
Between my roommate and the sales people at the store, I learned a few habits to make for the perfect listening of records. While they appear to be very durable, the music they contained could easily be distorted if you didn’t treat them properly.
- they need to be stored upright instead of stacking them to preserve their pristine shape. Milk crates were the perfect (and university-affordable) way to do that. They’re also easy to move around although a full crate was actually pretty heavy
- static electricity is your worst enemy for those annoying cracks and pops that can appear. When I could finally afford my own stereo system, I bought an anti-static “gun”. You’d point it at the record and it would shoot some sort of charge that countered the friction that came just from pulling it from the sleeve
- the record isn’t ready for the turntable just yet. You need to use a special brush in a walnut handle to collect any bits of dust that had been attracted. The brush needed to have a bit of the D3 or D4 fluid from Diskwasher to do the best job
- periodically, you needed to check the weight of the needle when it was placed in the groove on your record. Since it’s such a tiny contact, there’s actually incredible weight placed on the record. I had a little scale for that
- finally, when you were done, before you put the record back into the milk crate, you put the record in an Angel’s sleeve which replaced the paper sleeve that typically came with the record. The plastic sleeve allowed for smooth transfer of the record from the sleeve to minimize static. I remember that A&M records actually shipped records in an Angel-like sleeve for this purpose
In doing the extensive research for this posting (i.e. a DuckDuckGo search), Angel’s sleeves are actually now a thing for a type of women’s clothing. Sigh.
But there was a time …
Another tip. Buy yourself an album every week. Before long, you’ll have a great collection. I wasn’t able to do this but did buy as frequently as I could afford. It meant a trip to the record aisle in Kmart in downtown Waterloo or later Sam the Record Man in Toronto. It was there that I got a prized item for lights off Saturday nights – recordings of The Shadow shows with Agnes Moorehead and Orson Welles. Unlike television, the action was in your mind.
How about you for this Sunday morning?
- did you have or more importantly, do you still have a stereo with a turntable for records?
- did you use any protection for your records to preserve the perfect audio?
- did you ever own a record that was coloured other than black? I have one
- complete the phrase “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit …”
- what’s the difference between a record player and a turntable?
- can you name any other famous collaboration between Moorehead and Welles?
Please take a moment to share your thoughts via comment.
Thanks, Tim, for your post. I’ve milked it for a bit of blogging and thinking inspiration.
If you have an idea for a “Whatever happened to …” post, please leave it in the Padlet. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others.
All of the articles in this series can be found here.