More often than not, I try to be what is commonly termed, ‘A Good Person’. At least I hope as much. Some days it does seem no meagre feat and we all must have a little sympathy for the man in black. Damned if it isn’t hot out.
With that in mind, I am fairly certain of at least one thing other than death and taxes: When I reach those pearly gates, St Pete is sending me straight down to Lucy’s ferociously icy depths in a rickety freight elevator. How do I know this?
The other afternoon (in this sort of heat, London becomes kind of liquid and all the clocks go a bit Dalí) while browsing the shelves of one of my regular charity shop haunts, I came upon this. Straight off the bat, it struck me as hefty and - upon quick glimpse - quite shiny. Heart all a-flutter, I immediately stuffed it back into the sleeve and asked the nice people (who most definitely have their spot at JC’s table all marked out with a name card right to the left of Mother Teresa and Hendrix) how much they would need in order to part with this particular remnant of chattel.
There is no way in which I can think of expressing this in any form that does not make me out to be the pariah I am. So I’ll just come clean. They wanted £5.99 and I gave it to them and I left. Quickly. Like I said: Highway all the way.
However, lest we forget that the big man upstairs has the original sense of humour, I beg you to bear in mind the following when I come to be weighed on those celestial scales.
Once back in my cool, dark lair, I crouched over these spoils. To my dismay, the centre hole - which I had not gone so far as to notice in my hastened greed - appeared to be one of those large RCA jukebox affairs. For the record, those were only ever used on ‘45s, not 12” to my knowledge. In disappointment, I could only reflect that I would have to purchase the most exotic of adaptors with which to enjoy my ill purchased gains. And then of course, I took the thing right out its dust jacket.
This is not a vinyl record. It is, in fact a LaserVision Stereo disc featuring that bombshell, Olivia Newton-John. Although it might look like a CD impersonating a vinyl record (or visa versa), it’s not quite the same tech. While it might use a laser to reveal the trove within, in the same way that vinyl is analogue audio, this is analogue video with stereo audio for a number of tracks, most notably ‘Physical’ and that song from Grease. It also requires a very particular piece of equipment - aptly named a LaserVision Player - manufactured in the early eighties.
These machines were so prohibitively expensive that very few consumers could afford to adopt the technology, hence no-one bought into these beautiful, beautiful discs of eventually obsolete joy. I’ll leave you to do the math that took us from that place to VHS before we eventually split the difference for CDs. I guess Betamax would be a fair comparison. Needless to say, the long and winding road to DVD and Blu-ray is strewn with some pretty weird skeletons and I’m reminded of that Nintendo Playstation prototype that turned up in someone’s attic a few years back.
I don't think the LaserVision machines quite match up to the rarity of the rarest of rare consoles - I mean, these things actually existed and people had them and they worked - Sony's abandoned lovechild with the big N never made it onto shelves and could have been lost forever. That being said, in evolutionary terms it could be tempting to think of the dodo, except for the fact that a comparison to the elusive platypus might be more accurate. A curious and deservedly sheepish rummage on eBay proved this theory correct. These creatures are still out there and someone has left their leaking library behind. Also, it comes in 1980's Saturday morning sci-fi flavour...
I can have no more love for this than that which already courses through my veins. It is precisely the correct degree of strange and delightful and I am drawn to it like an industrial strength magnet. If anyone has some time travelling apparatus lying around, I suspect that at least part of it is constructed from a LaserVision player and I needs must find it and use it to go back and build my Domesday machine.
JD - TACOCAT