Just Me

Anticipating Yes


A friend bought me the new Yes album, Fly From Here. Thank you, really appreciated. It’s the first new Yes album for ten years or so and I’m looking forward to listening to it. But when?

I could listen to it now, while I’m working on my computer, but no, I want to give it my full attention. Which takes me back to when I first listened to Yes, and all the other good music around when I was a teenager in the 70s.

Today, I download music from eMusic, or (less so) from iTunes, and I enjoy finding music all over the web. And my iTunes catalogue, it tells me, has 57 days, 18 hours , 26 minutes and 18 seconds of music for me to listen to at any time. Effectively, I can probably listen to any piece of music every recorded, at any time I want to. I’m hanging on for the new Yes album.

When I was 15, to listen to a new album I would save up my pocket money,  and take a bus to the centre of Birmingham – I lived in Chelmsley Wood at the time, on the outer limits. I’d probably make for the little Virgin record shop, and take my time to look through all the albums in their richly illustrated sleeves, enjoying the heady plastic and cardboard scents that were mixed with other smells wafting around the closely packed, dark shop, the air heavy with deep, pulsing reggae music.

Then the bus journey home. Half an hour on the number 94, upstairs in the smoke, devouring every word printed on the sleeve, scanning every image and shape and colour on the album. Hawkwind’s Warrior at the Edge of Time, was a real challenge on the bus. Sometimes I would even remove the record carefully and study the grooves in the black plastic, watching for the gaps between tracks, examining where the louder sections of the music would be. You can do that with vinyl: you can see the music.

Home at last. Upstairs to my bedroom, carefully place the album on the turntable, drop the needle gentle into place, and listen to that first click as it dropped into the groove. Turn up the volume, and crash out on my bed and close my eyes.

And listen. Turn over the album 20 minutes later, and listen. And repeat until summoned for a meal. Then back again afterwards.

I have the new Yes CD here, beside me. I’ve read all the words, examined the pictures – crumbs the band look so old! – and now I’m anticipating the crash out on the settee when the family are out. I aim to go back to listening to this album as my 15 year old self would have done.

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