Friday, 28 September 2012

Vinyl and Paperbacks

About four years ago I bought my first mp3 player. I couldn’t quite stretch to an iPod, so I opted for a Creative Zen, which I still own and happily use.

It was extraordinary being able to collect 2-3,000 tracks and carry them all with me at all times, on the bus, in the car, on holiday. I could make my playlists, skip, mix, listen at random, select an album or a specific artist. I plugged it into the stereo, set it on shuffle and let it run for a couple of hours without the need of changing disks.

I really have a lot of fun with my Zen.

Last month a musician friend of mine sent me a copy of his band’s brand new EP. It was a special moment unwrapping it from the cellophane, extracting the vinyl (in a funky yellow colour), placing it on my turntable and listening to it in all his beautiful, crackling glory.

While I was at it, I decided to give a spin to some of the records in my collection and was transported back to times gone when I would run home with my latest purchase from the small independent record shop round the corner, impatient to see, hear and feel the multi-sensory music experience that was an LP.

As much as I love technology and the convenience of downloads and mp3s, there will always be a special place in my heart for the good old vinyl.

I love the way it looks and sounds, the dedication that goes into playing a record – dust it, place it on the record player, lower the needle on the right spot, get to the end of one side, turn it around, start again.

If mp3s are music on the go, vinyl is for taking your time and savouring the work and thought that has gone into it. It’s the fine dining of music versus the fast food chain that it’s a download, with all the attention to details – the cover art, the inner sleeve, the printed lyrics – served with the main dish.

Nothing beats vinyl.

Three months ago I finally got my birthday present, which had been on my list for some time: a Kindle Touch.

I was won over immediately. Again, the practicality of being able to carry all the books I love and/or want to read at once was a major positive, as well as the solution it offered to one of the biggest problem facing passionate readers: storage and space, or rather, lack of.

To that add the convenience of being able to acquire a book any time and from anywhere, and the Kindle really comes into its own.

And you have all the handy features that allow you to highlight and bookmark passages, look up a word, change the font size, write your own notes, copy a playlist of music to listen to while you read, without moving from your chair.

What a fabulous gadget!

Yesterday I received in the post a copy of my book “Playing On Cotton Clouds”, which is released in paperback today and available to buy from Amazon.

The novel had been published by Crooked Cat Publishing in ebook format back in April and I was very proud of all the great reviews and comments readers left on Amazon, Goodreads, my Facebook page. It was the realization of a long time coming dream.

But yesterday I was holding my book in my hands. Not a digital book on Kindle, but an actual, real paperback. It had a shiny, colourful cover, a front and a back. It had pages I could turn and on them were printed the words that had taken nearly half a year for me to write. It had a smell and a feel and occupied physical space.

Specifically, it was placed on a shelf side by side with some of my favourite books and authors: Helen Fielding, Lisa Jewell, David Nicholls… Michela O’Brien!

It was simply a little miracle.


I will still download mp3s and ebooks, I will still love my Zen and my Kindle and how they have made my life simple.

But I will still buy beautiful records and books, always cherish my favourites and how they have made my life colourful.

 Yours Truly proudly holding her book!


  1. Many congratulations to your paperback release. A special moment!

    I'm so like you - except that I lost all my records in a house move 9 years ago. As it was halfway across the country, I couldn't get them back. Boo! Still mourning the loss of my 70's, 80s & 90s vinyls. The broad collection ranging from Abba (first record I got was The Album for my birthday in '77) to Nirvana, from Bryan Adams to Metallica, is still sorely missed. Still got my record player, and something has been stopping me from getting them all on CD. Not just the money... ;-) It's not the same.

    Fantastic post!

    1. That's tragic, Cathie! :(

      I was lucky to get all my records safe in my new home in England. Especially my treasured Stone Roses ones he he

      Thanks for your cooment!

  2. Great post, Michela. I not only have boxes full of vinyls I also have some much older 78rpms some going way back to the 1920s. Most likely not your choice! One of my favourite vinyl covers is The Rolling Stones one which has a pair of jeans and a real moving zip on it! Not quite the Stone Roses either- 'fraid I don't have any of them. :-(