People who know me would be surprised to learn that I’m a bit of a hi fi purist. Actually, I’m a hi fi snob. I won’t go into the history of my hi fi and my relationship with it because it’s about as boring as interminable discussions about cameras. Suffice to say that I wouldn’t dream of playing any of my records on a Dansette or anything like a Dansette. But the Dansette has become a hugely desirable item recently. A Dansette Major, in good working order can command high prices on ebay. As a design icon, it is redolent of teenage bedrooms of the 50’s and 60’s. As a thing to listen to music on, it is a four-year old with a Kalashnikov. The tracking weight on a modern turntable tone arm is between 1.5 and 2 grammes. On a Dansette it’s about 8. This is the reason so many of the records people bring in to sell me are so knackerd. There is nothing rare about copies of Please Please Me, they were pressed up in millions. What is rare are copies that were not trashed by being played on a Dansette.
And yet. Yesterday I acquired a Dansette Major. It’s in great condition and fully functioning at all speeds. I played a few 78s on it and I was transported back to my teenage years in the late 1950’s. Even though I was born in 1968.