Just a Little Love & a Little Rubbing Alcohol

When Dan and I first met, we liked each other right away.  However, when we both discovered that we each had a passion for vinyl records, it may have been what sealed the deal that we were meant to be.

I started early, with Cabbage Patch Kids and Care Bears records, moving on quickly to stealing my parents’ records and keeping them in my room, listening to the Doors and Iron Butterfly with incense lit and blacklight on. The only records from my parents’ large collection that made it through Hurricane Katrina safely were the ones that I had stolen long ago and were safe in Colorado in my greedy mitts.  I added to my collection from Goodwill and other thrift stores and garage sales, never buying a record unless it was preowned and preloved.

Dan has a ridiculously large collection of pristine techno, dance, and breaks, rounded out by lots of alternative and classic rock. He’s the real deal, buying new, still-wrapped albums on vinyl if it’s available rather than CDs (Are we really old? Do people buy CDs anymore? I think the evidence that we are might be in the fact that I don’t know either way.) or downloading them. He’s got an unnatural aversion to used records, thinking that they might taint both his equipment and the rest of the collection with their battered covers and scratches.  However, both my preloved records and I won him out in the end, and the rest is history.

Since we got together, our collections have merged into one really big, weird, electic mix that demonstrates how two very different people came together. There’s Chemical Brothers next to the Kinks, Lady Gaga residing by Pearl Jam, and all kinds of crazy stuff in-between.

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Which brings me to my point. Upon moving back home, Dan and I discovered boxes and boxes of albums and 45s that needed some extreme TLC.

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All of the records that didn’t make it safely through Hurricane Katrina have been sitting in my parents’ garage ever since in their rusty carrying cases and mold-ridden sleeves. I’ve been taking my afternoons and using them to dig out these jewels and help restore them to their former glory.

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I was scared to start at first, but I discovered (after a little online research) that rubbing alcohol can work wonders. All I’m doing right now is using a towel and some 1:1 isopropyl alcohol and water solution. I’ve been taking this…

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…and coming out with this…

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…much to my surprise. Now, the final results are a little less striking in person after the rubbing alcohol dries because then you get to see all those years of tiny scratches and dings, but it’s still an amazing change to me. All those people who have taken proper care of their records since they started collecting are probably not so impressed, but I can’t even say how excited I am.

I can’t wait until I give them a few more passes and make sure that they’re all ready for their maiden voyage on the turntable. I’m excited about getting them all new paper sleeves and cataloguing them and alphabetizing them, although I know that there’s no way they’ll stay that way. I’m especially excited about this one.

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Harlem Globetrotters? This is awesome.

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