Locked Groove

Barry had always known that, if he waited long enough, records would come round again. 

A joke, there, that he’d tried out a few times in the pub, until Denis had told him to stop. 

But there’d been a vinyl revival, and not just for aging hipsters like him. 

Even the youth, as he called them, with what he believed was “irony”, 

Were getting into LPs, although it was sad how they’d driven the prices up. 

The 180gm thing couldn’t be knocked, he supposed, if the record was pressed properly, 

But he’d had more than a few that spat plastic over his stylus, 

And no-one seemed to get that coloured vinyl was never as good, 

Especially when played on the modern Dansettes they sold now, 

In lieu of proper turntables, because no-one seemed to recognise a decent set-up anymore. 

And Denis might well have thought it was a moot point, as he put it, 

Trying to persuade the youngsters who wouldn’t dream of sharing half a mild and a packet of pork scratchings with them in the Lamb and Lion of an evening, 

But, still, records had come round again, like Barry had joked, 

And they’d come round like this; 

Over-priced, unnecessarily heavy, mastered from sodding digital files, for chuff’s sake, 

And then played – to augment insult with injury before pitching it against itself in the Barry off-on-one loudness war – on bloody scrapers that didn’t so much play the damn things as gouge them. 

“Well, if you will pay 50 quid for the White Album,” Denis had told him. 

And this was before Barry had whinged about the locked groove on Sgt. Pepper. 

How they’d missed it out on some of the newer pressings he’d heard. 

How it wouldn’t play properly on these new devices anyway. 

How it was meant to repeat and repeat and repeat ad nauseum

Or just stop. 

If you had an automatic return. 

“I know which of the two I’d prefer,” Denis told him, 

Which, as always, was the cue for Barry to get the beers in, 

So they could wind up going round again. 

Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Safe and Sound Press. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains frustratingly as unproduced as it was the last time he updated this biography. It has also been adapted into a stage play.

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