Today I paid for a Dansette record player I bought on eBay.
I know; I do not need a Dansette record player. There are iPods and MP3s and CDs and DVDs and everything imaginable in digital form. I did not need to spend more than I should have done on a 1960s piece of technology.
I was even precise about the sort of Dansette I wanted. It had to be red and cream and it had to have the facility to stack up 7″ singles, so that they would play one after the other.
Mid-life crisis? Maybe. But I knew exactly why I wanted this particular record player on which to play the vinyl records that have survived the years.
There are records that come from 1979 and 1980, a particularly bleak time in my life, a time when I went under with black depression and dropped out of university. Probably as a diversion, I bought a whole string of records during the dark months. Sorting through them now, I can still recall particular moments.
The Dansette reminds me of earlier days. My favourite aunt, of whom I am still very fond, had a red Dansette. Occasions on which she played her Dansette were family occasions, they were special moments; they were secure times.
When I get my Dansette, I am going to play through all of the records, every one of them, as a reclamation of the past.
There is a biblical tradition of symbolic action. The prophet Jeremiah bought a field as his country was being invaded as an expression of confidence that his people would once again live in the land.
The Lord promises his people in the prophet Joel, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten”. For no-one other than myself, an old record player, as a symbol of a secure and happy past, is going to reclaim the times I lost to my own locusts