About a decade ago, my mother’s 1970s-era turntable gave up on the world. iPods and iPads weren’t gadgets she could take to, so a search for a replacement led to shops that seemed more like mancaves than stores that could provide a woman nearing 70 a record player she could use without having to make distress calls every morning. The rather affected store owners seemed more interested in proving they were connoisseurs than in selling an older music lover a turntable. They proved that vinyl had made its comeback since the early 2010s, but only as an expensive hobby for snooty audiophiles.
Also read: Vinyl’s new listener is not a snooty ‘vinyl-head’
Over the past couple of years, though, this has changed: The listening experience has taken precedence over bragging rights. Cafés, bars, stores and pubs in Panaji, Bengaluru, Mumbai and other cities are encouraging casual music lovers and walk-in patrons to listen—and hopefully get hooked—to vinyl. A love for vinyl is no longer driven by nostalgia or a desire to be seen as cool. The experience of selecting a record, placing it on a turntable, setting the needle makes listening a more immersive experience.
In a sense, vinyl is coming full circle—after a period of being a faddish diversion, it is back to serving its original purpose of easy listening. Lounge meets these new listeners and finds out more about the second coming—or is it the third?—of vinyl.
Another story that evokes 1970s nostalgia is on the local bakeries of Delhi—from Connaught Place’s legendary Wenger’s to lesser-known corner store bakers—that have survived the influx of swanky chains and international recipes, and continue to serve uncomplicated yet delicious food like flaky puffs and spicy cutlets. As with the new listeners, for these patrons, it is the experience that ensures they keep returning—much like our readers’ weekly return to Lounge. Other stories not to be missed in this issue include a review of the new Ms. Marvel series featuring Kamala Khan, the Pakistani-American teenaged superhero from Jersey City, and our suggestions for what to read, watch, eat, cook and enjoy through the week.
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Also read: Why I am not an online parent