Retired Rocker Goes Off His Rocker; Harangues Everyone about Vinyl Records

Article by Roy Thomas Padgham

EDVILLE—As a former recording artist who scaled the heights of Top 40 radio back in the 80s with my outfit Flock Of Men Without Dolby, I can speak with some authority on everything music biz, ranging from substance-fuelled parties on Elton’s 164-ft yacht docked in the harbour at Cannes, to some of the more arcane intricacies of the recording process.

While I welcome the resurgence of vinyl that last year saw records outsell CDs for the first time since the 1980s, I feel I must sound the alarm on a worrying trend that shows no sign of abating, alongside the explosion of interest in records.

Now if you’re a regular Gazette reader, you’ll already know I’m a passionate and cunning linguist who has raged against all manner of etymological infractions, from the ascent of the non-word “irregardless” to the hiding-in-plain-sight monstrosity that remains the Toronto Maple “Leafs.” But this abhorrent musical transgression cuts even closer to the bone. This is nothing less than a scourge upon our language and even art itself.

People everywhere, and young people in particular have somehow deemed it acceptable to refer to records as “vinyls.” As in “I was just buying some chamomile beard conditioner at Urban Outfitters when I noticed they had the new Bon Iver vinyl …. I’ve heard it’s totes amazeballs!”


You should no more call records “vinyls” than you should call burgers “cowsnacks,” or eggs “pre-chickens.” 

So let me clean this up once and for all, with a quick overview of when it is (and isn’t) appropriate to use the word “vinyl.”

1. “Vinyl” can be used as the collective word for records—but only as an adjective. There is a vinyl resurgence. There is NOT a resurgence of vinyls. You can passably refer to your record collection as your vinyl collection, although I don’t know what would possess you to want to do that.
2. If your friend brings up their favourite King Crimson album, by all means you can smugly mention in passing that you have that album “ON VINYL”. However, you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT have “the vinyl” of that album.
3. If you and your plaid-wearing, macchiato-sipping friends spend a successful Saturday afternoon crate-digging in the hallowed vinyl emporiums of whatever urban hellhole you find yourselves in, you emerge from those establishments with armfuls of RECORDS, and if you should so much as even consider describing them as “vinyls” you should dipped in Frank’s Hot Sauce and tossed into a tank of piranhas… That’s right, I said it.
I may be a has-been Brit rock-star three decades past his prime, who, by a series of poor decisions and just plain bad luck has washed up in this Southern Ontario backwater, narrating stories about pigs for the most overrated podcast in the Western world. But for what it’s worth, at the very least, I still have the slimmest of fingertip-grips on my standards!

Editor’s Note: Actually, thanks Roy! I like your suggestions re: Cowsnacks and Pre-Chickens. Gonna have me a cowsnack with all the fixin’s right after I post this article. And in the a.m. whip up a fluffy pre-chick souffle. Mmmmm… new words for old favourites… love it!

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