“The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel, and vinyl.”
About five years ago I had a dream one night and I dreamed I had bought an apple smart watch and a big record collection and a record player. So, a few weeks later I went to JB Hi Fi and bought a record player and the first record for my collection was a Katy Perry record called PRISM that I found at the supermarket ALDI for twenty-five dollars.
I just put the record on now playing the iconic song Roar. It’s a visually gorgeous record with the double record in a sleeve with photos of Katy on the vinyl in a clear plastic cover.
Sometimes when I walk up to the grocery shop near my apartment, I put that song on and play it out loud on my iPhone.
Perry said she wrote the song after undergoing therapy, saying she was “sick of keeping all these feelings inside and not speaking up for myself”.
I can deeply relate to the lyrics and feel of the songs particularly the song roar.
The reason I like vinyl most of all is that primarily I am a visual artist and I love the graphics on the front and back of records on that large scale.
Over the past five years I have collected around one hundred and fifty records.
“There’s no question that a vinyl record is a lot nicer than a CD. It’s nicer to hold in your hands, you can do more with it.”
-Simon Le Bon
I live in a tiny studio apartment near the beach, and I fight to keep it clean and ordered and for around a year I had my record player and crate of records in my storage space.
When I got more on top of keeping it ordered I picked up my record collection and player and now it feels a lot more like a friendly home rather than just a place where I stay.
While I was in Europe for the first month of this year, I did some Internet shopping while I was in Rome at a cheap small hotel room and my first purchase was Yoshitomo Naras latest coffee table book. When I got home one of the most interesting images in the book was of Nara looking up at an installation of his favourite records up on the wall displayed on wooded brackets. Like me Nara’s art is influenced by rock, pop, and punk music and particularly their album covers.
Ironically Nara gave me one of his drawings twenty years ago when I worked at a big contemporary art museum in Sydney that I sold in auction at Sotheby’s auction house in London last year and that paid for this next six months rent my trip to Europe and some money left over to save to buy my own apartment.
The band that sems to recur a lot in Naras drawings is the now defunct American punk band the Ramones who I also like.
As much as I love vinyl, I also feel there is a place for music to be played on an iPhone on a bus with headphones or YouTube or on my iPhone out loud while beach walking not on my headphones.
Coming right back to the beginning of my essay in that prophetic dream I also wanted to buy an Apple watch and I did buy one on sale at JB Hi Fi for $150 but it was an earlier model that couldn’t sync up with my more recent iPhone model.
I hope to get an apple watch one day but perhaps when I get a part time job to save more money.
Yoshitomo Nara Ramones inspired painting
Katy Perrys Prism album the first record in my adult record collection
I had a small record collection when I was a teenager of mainly retro sixties records by bands like the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Dinosaur JR, and eighties bands the Cure, and REM.
I don’t know what I did with these records, but I vaguely recall giving them away when I turned 19 and became interested in Indian meditation and the only music, I listened to was mantra repetition and chants.
I wish I had hung onto those records and my collection of skateboard magazines and CDS and comic books.
Nara has worked with musicians I like too, and his work looks amazing as album covers for bands such as REM and Shonen Knife.
Yoshitomo Nara going through his album collection with Mika Yoshitake, A retrospective show of Naras work at LACMA gallery in the USA in 2022
Nara album cover for Japanese band: Shonen Knife