Remember how yesterday I directed you (thanks to having been steered that way myself by reader Bob McKeown) to a Facebook group about growing up in Peterborough, Ont., in the 1970s (and, less importantly in my view, the 1980s)? Well, if you’ve forgotten, or didn’t see that post, it’s here. And if you check it out, or remember from when you did, you’ll know that one of the cool photos I found on the Facebook feed was of a vintage hi-fi set. You know – the kind with the tinny electronic apparatus built into a great big (and utterly unnecessary, as we learned in the later 1970s when we freed ourselves from such units) wooden cabinet that housed the large but tinny speakers. Every household had one, once upon a time.
Well. Just think what Raymond and I came across for sale not long ago! Yes, you guessed it: it’s the hi-fi unit that you see in the photo at the top of this post. It was practically the first thing I found on our latest foray (we tend to get there at least once a year) to the wonderful Stratford Antique Warehouse in Stratford, Ont. My jaw dropped, not only with happy recognition but also at the price: a mere $150 for the unit in full working condition!
Still: did we need it? Of course not. Would it be incredibly awkward, maybe impossible, to get home in our little Toyota? Indeed. We decided to take a pass. We left the store.
And went for lunch. And got talking about it. And then got talking some more. With the result that after lunch, we headed back to the Stratford Antique Warehouse.
You know, we got as far as measuring the hi-fi, and calculating ways to get it into, or on top of, the car. Raymond was even in the process of sorting through his impressive collection of bungee cords. But in the end, something stopped us.
It wasn’t the transportation problem. It wasn’t the price. (Lord knows $150 seems pretty reasonable for a piece like that.) It was the fact that something seemed a little bit off with the metal cylinder over which you place the hole in the record. Remember how those cylinders were maybe four or five inches high, and you could stack a whole pile of record on them, and they’d drop and play one at a time? That was how you did party music in those days – the 1960s/’70s equivalent of the iPod playlist. Man, I hadn’t thought of that in years and years!
But now that I had, I wanted the ability to re-create that vintage entertainment setup in my own home (which would be the Manse). And on this hi-fi, the cylinder was just a little thing that barely poked up above the turntable. No loading up of multiple records on that baby.
And that’s all it took. We came to our senses, and once again left the store without the hifi.
Am I sorry?
Yeah, a little bit. But I did take the card of the chap who was selling it… So stay tuned.