Remember that dream of places and faces
Leaves that moved with the breeze
A word that went unheard
Sparks from a fire that rose higher
And the stream of icy cold water that washed it all away?

For those of you who didn't know… (Part III)

You have arrived at Helsinki airport.

I feel a familiar sense of excitement. There is something about this place. The characteristic smell of coffee that permeates everything. The crisp autumn air outside. Clear blue skies. Slanting rays of light climbing over the horizon. The quiet energy of people walking by.

Things have a way of snowballing before a big event. I used to put this down to my chronic procrastination – always scrambling to get everything done at the last minute. Didn’t I start early this time though? Moving day arrived with only two weeks notice, but other preparations had begun months before.

At least the era came to an enjoyable end. Or did it?

Suddenly Singapore is far away, and I’m looking at autumn leaves in Hamburg. When I stop and think about it, it still feels a little unreal. But who has the time to stop and think?

Round every corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
I must explore them all today
Or will I pass again this way?
Time for the eager paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.

I am back in my favourite corner of the world.

How to buy a record player

My turntable and records
Beautiful, beautiful music
  1. Fall in love with your grandfather’s customised record player and wonderful speakers when you listen to his records as a young kid.

  2. Accidentally walk into The Adelphi in your first few weeks in Singapore and ogle at all the fancy audio equipment. More than half the shops there look like living rooms – replete with comfy sofas to sit back in and enjoy the music. One of them even has guitars hanging on the walls!

  3. Do a bit of research into the cost of said audio equipment. Step back from your computer screen in horror for the next lifetime or so.

  4. Don’t let that stop you from looking at all record players making appearances all over Singapore – even Robinson’s has them!

  5. Make the final payment of your student loan just before Christmas.

  6. ’Tis the season to be jolly! Maybe I should celebrate by gifting myself something. How about a … record player?!

  7. Look at reviews, visit some record stores, and talk to old uncles in the basement of The Adelphi. Look at more reviews while visiting stores. Compare prices on Amazon and be surprised. Visit more stores and keep teetering on making a decision because no one else you know can provide advice on this esoteric hobby.

  8. Finally buy a beautiful one and bring it home.

  9. Don’t forget to buy some records too! It’s okay if the record store guy convinces you to buy an album that you’d never normally listen to because “it sounds so good!”

  10. Agonise over the poor wiring in your house causing your new equipment to sound noisy.

  11. Try many different ways of debugging and fixing it.

  12. Give up and make peace with it.

  13. Buy some more records. Admire the beautiful artwork. Play them. That’s what it’s all about anyway!

  14. Sit back. Close your eyes.

  15. Listen. Listen!

It’s worth mentioning that steps 8, 13, and 15 are really the most crucial ones. In fact I could go so far as to say that all the other steps can be safely ignored. Most importantly, enjoy the music!

Looking for more posts? Check out the archives.