Saturday, September 27, 2014

An introduction

Hi there. You're probably wondering who I am. Although if you're reading this, it's probably because you're a friend of mine and I asked you to read my new blog, which would mean that you already know who I am. But just in case there's somebody reading this who doesn't know me and is reading this because you stumbled on it because you pressed the wrong button on your iPhone by mistake...

My name is Andrew Gilmore. I just turned 28 years old. I live in Philadelphia. And I'm something of an old soul. I often tell people I'm still a vaudeville comedian, except I was born a hundred years too late to actually be in vaudeville.
I love watching old movies- and when I say "old", I'm not talking about "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", or "Star Wars"- I'm talking about movies from the 1930s and '40s. I love old music- again, when someone my age says "old" music, they're usually referring to Nirvana- I'm talking about old 78 RPM records, of which I have a large collection including records made more than 100 years ago. You can probably guess that I'm in the minority among my age group in liking these things, and even within that "old-timey" era, there are certain sub-topics- such as the 1930s movie comedy team Wheeler & Woolsey, for example- which very few people have ever even heard of but which I love. So you can see why I called my blog "Stuff Nobody Else Cares About." I'm kind of a pop culture nerd, as long as it involves pop culture made before I was born, so I started this blog to talk about whatever esoteric topics are on my mind.

I'd like to start with a topic that's been on my mind a lot recently- my aforementioned record collection. I have just over 2500 78s, ranging from 1900 to the late '50s. I can get into more details on that later, but suffice it to say that all 2500+ of them are not only stored physically in my basement, but I recently spent a year and a half making digital copies of all of them. However, I didn't have a digital turntable, so I did it the old-fashioned way- stuck my computer next to the record player's speaker. The sound quality of the resulting transfers varies considerably.

But since it was my birthday this week, my parents just got a Numark digital turntable for me, so I started using it by finishing up my 78s and moved on to my 45s. Those were the earliest records I collected, starting around the age of 7 or 8. My dad had a substantial collection of old 45s, mostly from the '50s and '60s- Elvis, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, classic Motown like Smokey Robinson and the Supremes, and so on. My parents and I used to sit around the family phonograph on Saturday nights and dad would pick out some old favorites for us to listen to. Eventually I started buying 45s of my own. When I moved on to LPs and 78s, I just stopped collecting 45s altogether, but my collection of them had been sitting in my room for many years, unlistened-to. (Spell check informs me that that's not a word, but I say it is now. It certainly should be.)
Now that I have the Numark turntable, I spent most of my day today digitizing some of my favorite old 45s. Many of the songs on them you can now get easily on YouTube, but there's something about the physical experience of listening to the original records, and holding them in my hands and realizing that these are things I've had in my possession since I was seven or eight years old- that's incredibly nostalgic.
But that's done now. I just finished the last of them and put them in the basement.

So what I'm getting at is that now it's time for the big job: the LPs. I've got somewhere around 700 of them, so if I can digitize two a day, it's likely to take about a year to do. But I've collected so many LPs for so long that I literally have records I bought in 1998 or 9 which I've never even listened to, so this is not only a way to preserve my collection digitally, it's a good excuse to take the time to listen to EVERYTHING I have and find out whether some of it is any good.

So, while I might make some footnote entries on other topics if anything interesting happens, what I'm going to do for a while here is to write reviews of each of my LPs as I go through them- just jot down my thoughts and reactions as I hear each one. If any of you are fellow record-collectors, or just music buffs in general, I'm sure you'll enjoy going on this journey with me. I'm very tired from doing all those 45s today, and it's getting late, but first thing tomorrow, I start with the LPs. They're in alphabetical order (I do have OCD, y'know), so first up is an Abbott and Costello record I bought when I was a kid. See you tomorrow for the first review.


P.S. I forgot to mention that I'm an actor, and I was recently on a local radio show called "Skywave" which does recreations of classic 1940s radio shows. I was invited to be on again on October 7th, and will be performing in some Halloween-themed episodes of "Inner Sanctum" and "Fibber McGee And Molly." If you want to hear it- and even if you don't want to, you damn well should- you can go to at 6 PM on the 7th to hear the live broadcast. It will be archived later, but please listen to it live so we'll actually see some numbers on the control panel that night.


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