Who are you calling a loner? An Op-Ed From A Guy Who Is Definitely Not an Ed.

By Tom Westoll

I don’t know how you consume the majority of your music, but I have been appreciating albums on vinyl as the main staple in my musical diet for about the last two years. The reason that I have renewed my interest in albums is in the experience. Listening to the whole thing from start to finish – honestly, what better way is there to actively listen to an album, than on vinyl?

For me, my preferred way to support artists I like is to buy their record. I barely go to shows these days. Why? Dunno.

I do know that I love listening to records though, and I love supporting the things I like. And one of the things I like is music made by fellow Canucks. It gives me a sense of pride, I don’t know why though. Perhaps it’s the same gene that makes me choke back a tear when I’m watching Hockey Night In Canada and the Timbits commercial with Sidney Crosby in it comes on.

I’ve got records by The Sheepdogs, Lisa Leblanc, Chixdiggit, The Crooked Brothers, The Sunparlour Players, Arcade Fire, The Creeps, Cold Warps, Doug & The Slugs, Michael Rault and of course BA Johnston, to name just a handful of Canadian albums, that I have and were not made by a guy named Neil Young. I listen to them all the time. I’m always on the lookout for more that will compliment my collection.

Which is the other reason I am thoroughly enjoying the Vinyl Renaissance. I love the experience (there’s that word again) of being at record stores and flipping through albums. I started this habit of frequenting record stores as a young teen, although in my small hometown, aside from the pawn shops, there were only two CD and tape stores. Going to The City was an occasion, and one that had to include two stops – the skate shop and the record store. I could pass hours at a record store. These days I max out at like, 30 minutes, but oh, what a glorious 30 minutes. Maybe I get some finds, maybe I come out empty handed. It’s the feeling of music stores that I like.

So as I scrolled through facebook today and saw the article posted by Exclaim.ca, “Vinyl Collectors Are Middle-Aged Loners, According to New Study” , I thought “Middle Aged Loner? Trend Hopping Teen? Not me!”

Then I got to thinking. Sure I own a Crossley record player, but I’m not a teen like the article suggests. Far from it. I’m also not a perpetual bachelor (I’m quite happily married, thank you) with a record collection that encompasses half an entire living room wall like one of my best friends (Love you man). So I can’t be a middle aged loner, can I?

Maybe I am, increasingly so. Which is why I’ve taken to buying records rather than going to shows for the most part. Loner is a harsh word though. I can handle middle aged (although I would love it if my mathematical middle age didn’t come for another 10-15 years). But loner? C’mon!

How do you consume music? Are you a record collector? Why do you like it in that format? Are you nostalgic or forward thinking? Live music over records? Tell us all about it in the comment section.


52 thoughts on “Who are you calling a loner? An Op-Ed From A Guy Who Is Definitely Not an Ed.

  1. Morning! This is a good read thanks for the post. I buy records of bands I love as a way to give back to the artists. I try to do this at shows as this is, as far as I can tell the best way to support artists, short of mailing the artist cold hard cash. It also keeps me from going overboard when I am in the city at a record store.

    There is something to be said for the medium. The ritual of removing and cleaning the record and placing it on the platter feels good. The outcome of sound through speakers is not fundamentally different that other ways of listening to music but I can’t stress enough how much I like the ritual. This is a luxury I have only recently been able to afford; I could not have done this even last year.

    As for being a loner, I do love being alone from time to time. That is just one part of me. If that makes me a loner so be it.


  2. Pure Flannel Tom Gold! Love it, contrats!
    I love records, always have. I got a reputation as a badass when at age 13 my mum gave me money to go to the mall with my friend & said “just don’t spend it on records” so of course I came home with Asia’s Heat of the Moment 45. No accounting for taste at 13…it’s improved since then…sorta… I LOVE the Herb Alpert records that I find at thrift stores & Tea For Two Cha-Cha is every kind of awesome…
    I could go on…but I won’t…for now… Vinyl is awesome!
    Ourbasement is awesome too! Woo!:)


  3. 3 awesomes in one post, you can tell I’ve had coffee…speaking of which, I need to listen to that playlist…


  4. @Tom, I want to get a new turntable as my last one died. I have a good amount of vinyl and my parents have a lot more I can tap into… Old Doobie Brothers anyone?


  5. Oh, hello.

    @jg, i’d highly recommend a new record player! And yeah, I’ve got a doobie bros. album or two in my collection. I think as with most people my age(ish), I started vinyl-ing because of my dad’s old collection. My brother and I mined through that pretty thouroughly.

    @sitrujc – I agree with you for sure, I love the ritual! And Herb Alpert… NOW we’re talking! hahah, I think Whip Cream and Other Delights is one of my top 5 albums all time.

    @lucky – “just don’t spend it on records…?” What else are you supposed to spend it on!?!??!!

    I wrote this the other day, sitting on the couch with my dog. It was nice. I haven’t really written anything in a few years… I used to write a lot. I was even the features ed. at my university paper. I like writing, I don’t know why I haven’t done it in years, perhaps if you’ll allow it, i might like to write the occasional piece for The OurBasement?


  6. @FT The cover of Whipped Cream reeled me in (outrageously hilarious!) The content keeps me coming back.
    Must go be productive…pfft…


  7. The voices won’t stop, keeps me from getting lonely though.

    I have a friend who recorded at A&M studios in the early 70’s (the A stands for Alpert). He says they walked in, the producer handed them a piece of hash the size of a softball and said “let’s make a record”. Those were the days….


  8. Good morning! Great article Tom! I just started with the vinyl this year. I dusted off the 1980 Pioneer PL-8 record player from my parents basement, bought a new needle and paired it with a 1980 Sansui reciever with phono input. I don’t have a bunch of records yet as I actually haven’t been to a record store but some of my favs in my limited collection are: Black Mountain’s IV, Classified’s Greatful, Janis Joplin’s Pearl, Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back Sound Track. I have a bunch of Harry Belafonte and classical from either my parents or my wife’s parents basement.

    I intend to buy more.

    Operation burnt out backlight lightbulb replacement with blue LED upgrade success!

    A post shared by Jeremy Hachey (@jeremyhachey) on

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Funhog, nice set up you’ve got there. I have a simple little Crossley all in one jobby that I quite like actually. It’s compact and it sounds good enough.

    Here’s a couple of my treasured can-con records:


  10. (If you post more than one link per comment, it apparently can’t handle it… so here’s another insta link for a can con treasure of mine.


  11. I’m completely digital these days. It’s so much easier. And it’s all backed up

    And I still buy entire albums, and still listen to entire albums


  12. @srk, 8:30 – What’s the producer hand the band these days, on their way into the studio?

    Grape flavoured E-Cig Vape Juice?


  13. Although I’m not really surprised by Shad being replaced. I think he’s awesome but was medium on interviewing skills. Also too, two senior execs were replaced, so there could be a large change in strategy for the show.


  14. Truth is I only listened when musicians I like were on. But I think his interviews with them were marvelous, probably because he is a great musician himself.


  15. @reginula, Grant would have been awesome on Q, if he wanted it though. It would be broad topics not just music. And he’d likely have to move to Toronto and he and family are pretty planted in Vancouver.


  16. Great post, Tom! I have some vinyl and no working record player to play it on. I’m also totally a loner and completely fine with that.

    so did you use that Interstellar pass to actually go to a show last night, Tom, OR WHAT?


  17. I don’t like the show Q (or q, as it seems to actually be). It really drives me bonkers, in a bad way. Good for Tom Power though, I like him. And this should give Shad more time to practice rapping, so that’s also good.

    Donna – thanks! You could get one of those all in one crossleys that are cheap and fun for yoiur records. And they look cool! (mine is antique-y looking). In the end, no I did not use the pass. Thank you so much for the offer though. I was pooped – me and the Scoobs had a good walk after supper and that was as much action as I could handle!


  18. oh ya, I remember admiring that in your apartment, Tom.

    Actually, I know exactly what record player I want, because I have a Sonos system and this turntable connects with it. John Teeter won one of them in a contest a couple of years ago and made me want one of my very own.


  19. I got some inside info on that the other week, but I was told to forget I heard anything. It’s about one of the songs that is on the album. I saw it performed. I liked it a lot. I told my friend. She confirmed the song is on the album. I’ve said too much?


  20. reginula, well the song that is posted on the AV club article was written for this multimedia show he did that was a “Reimagining” of On The Beach, an amazing Neil Young album. I really liked a few of the songs from that show, and was told by my friend who has played/recorded with him that the one I really, really liked made the cut. It’s not the one posted in that article, I don’t think but I can’t quite remember the name of it and I don’t have speakers on this work computer. It had to do with oil, and stuff.


  21. in other exciting Winnipeg recording news: Propagandhi is going into the studio for their new album and long lost rap guy pip skid is also recording.


  22. If Andre de Grasse can figure out how to get out of the starting blocks a little faster, he’ll dominate that whole “fastest man on Earth” thing for a while


  23. Hi guys. So, reginula, what’s the function of the OurBasement book of faces page, as opposed to this here page?

    (And good day. Just back from the woods.)


  24. Great post, Tom! I’m sorry I missed the conversation. :/

    I’m really into listening to music on vinyl these days too. I love the ritual of it… I find I am more likely to just sit and listen and enjoy the music when I play a record. With digital I have a greater tendency to get busy doing something else.
    Anyway… just talking to myself here. I’ll go catch up with you all on today’s post.


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