Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Raven

The first time I moved house, in fact the first time I left home - which was for the purpose of attending college in Maidstone, Kent - with all of my boxes of crap and ephemera unloaded from my dad's car, I set up my stereo and my turntable - or record player as would be its correct title. I wanted to listen to music whilst unpacking and lining up crappy Doctor Who novelisations on a window sill recently washed clean of mildew by some friend of the landlord, and I chose The Raven, the fourth album by the Stranglers.

Ever since then, each time I move house I baptise each new address with The Raven. There's something special about the record. Longships is well placed near the beginning of side one, and has an optimistic thrust without resorting to happy-clapping. It suggests a future full of new and exciting possibilities, and the album as a whole - after more than thirty years - still manages to sound as exciting as the very first time we all piled around Graham's house and sat listening to his copy on the day of its release. Somehow, at least in terms of my own private mythology, The Raven sets things up for the future.

I am now living at the fourteenth address since leaving home three decades ago, the second address to terminate with a country other than the United Kingdom. It has taken me nearly three years during which time I have shipped my record collection over from the old country, bought shelving, set it all up, sought out a new turntable, then an amplifier, and most recently a preamp because regular stores no longer sell amplifiers with phono inputs suited to the low level signal put out by a record player.

Just an hour ago, my preamp arrived in the mail. I am at last sat here listening to The Raven. The unpacking and sorting out and moving in and settling have been long dealt with, but this one undertaking was still to be done.

The Raven still sounds as wonderful as it did that first time.


All is right with the world.

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