Albums That Live In The Loft – White Ladder (1998)

Due to my own stupidity and lack of foresight, many years ago I sold a fine hi-fi system in favour of not having anything at all to play music on so convinced was I that in the brave new world of MP3 we would not require a stack of amplifiers and media playing technology we would only need a computer and maybe a small device that held your complete record collection and would slip into a shirt pocket, and in doing so I instantly made my impressive collection of LP’s completely redundant.

So they remain to this day safely packed away in plastic storage boxes and stuffed into the corner of the loft in this here house surviving three house moves at which point the wife always asks, “Do you really need those…” and I always remind her that the terms of the exclusion order specifically state that she is not to be let within ten yards of my album collection after what she did to my singles collection in 1983.

But first a confession, its on a CD not a vinyl and if its on a CD then its probably not in the loft, its probably in the garage for the one thing about CD’s is that they stand the damp much better than vinyl albums, it probably won’t play very well now though after all these years.

This is the problem with my audio collection, its either in the cold, dark but dry loft getting dusty or its in the cold, damp garage getting covered in rodent wee and not standing the ravages of time very well at all, in your childhood you treasure your album collection as if it were a gold vault but with every track ever recorded anywhere now being available online somewhere it just doesn’t seem that important anymore – when I was a child I imagined that as a man in my prime (as I surely am) I would have whole rooms dedicated to album storage, rows and rows of identical light wood shelving specially designed for the storage of music collections, I was wrong.

At the time of this albums first release in the UK we had just moved into what, in the history of this family, is now referred to as “the BIG house”, the most expensive house in the most expensive street in this suburb, yes we’d made it, my posh Auntie Doris was devastated because we’d bettered her and my dad simply shook his head and muttered stuff about living beyond our means and other things about spending money for spending money was against his religion.

At this point in the life cycle I now owned the family business outright, or rather I was the only one in charge and I owed the other two previous owners, one of whom was my very own father, a cool quarter of a million of our English pounds for the privilege, yes dear reader you read that correctly, my father sold the business to me, he did not hand it over free gratis as they do in all the best TV dramas, there was no shake of hands and a transfer of the key to me, no speech involving “Well son, my father passed this on to me and now I’m passing it on to you…” nothing of the sort, I got a letter from his accountant telling me that I now owed my father half of one quarter million and that was that but to his credit he trusted me for the money, sort of, thats not to say that he didn’t interfere in the running of the business EVERY SINGLE DAY or that he’d chunter on about every last penny that I spent thereafter, but off he went to retire to Benidorm and I bought THE BIG HOUSE.

I also bought a nice Volvo V70 turbo diesel in dark green as befitted my new position as the gentry of this here suburb and my wife had a white Honda Accord in some sort of sports mode, the fastest car I have ever driven, and the thirstiest, but what did we care, we were loaded, we lived in the BIG house, if we wanted for anything then money was there in the company bank account for spending, and so we spent it and left the accountant to deal with the hole next year when he fiddled, or rather, drew up the accounts, it was a carefree time of work hard and spend hard and the money would always be there and there would always be more money coming in…

But were we happy ?

Of course we fookin were, we’d be mad not to be deliriously happy…

It took a while before the money ran out and the business collapsed (three generations and I was the one who killed it) but while it lasted those were good days, the BIG house took a lot of filling and we bought furniture a-plenty to fill it with, bespoke solid pine furniture in that retro-farmhouse style that was all the rage, I became a regular in Comet for the BIG house needed lots of TV sets, one for each room and one for the conservatory too, oh yes it had a big L-shaped conservatory that also required furniture and it was even bigger when I knocked down the wall between it and the dining room to make one huge open space, half oak paneled dining space, half quarry tiled glass edifice, all very pleasant in summer in a Mediterranean Life magazine style but bloody freezing in winter unless you were prepared to shovel fifty pound notes into the decrepit heating system that we’d inherited in the BIG house.

And it was in that very open glass space room that I decided that we needed more audio, the full audio four speaker system complete with one of only two cable music channel receivers in the whole of Leeds (so the NTL man told us) was in another room but in line with the house policy of having video and audio facilities in every room including the bathroom, yes I cabled the bathroom in too, I popped out to see my friendly Comet salesperson and purchased a small Sony audio system with a pair of Wharfedale speakers for the conservatory and when turned up full the music bounced the glass roof up and down and I got told off every time by a wife who does not understand the need for loud music in every room including the bathroom, she still does not understand.

White Ladders was the album of choice that winter and it was played to death in the glass room whenever she went to the shops and left me in the house alone, Jake the dog would run to the back door whenever she returned in an early warning system that said “Turn it down, quick” and I fended off the neighbours complaints with friendly waves and laughs as if I didn’t understand them, works every time.

But were we happy ?

Of course we fookin were.


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