Vinyl - Hard to Kill

May 10, 2017

Vinyl. Impossible to spell. As a matter of fact, even spelling bee winners cringe at the thought of the word, but it's not just hard to spell, it's hard to kill.

There's been dozens of music delivery formats put out there - 78's and 45's and reel to reel and 8 track, cassettes and MD discs, CD's and MP3's... plus a whole mess of other attempts to get us to buy music. Did you know that Miles Davis's 'Kind of Blue' has been released in every single delivery format that has ever been pushed onto the public? Every single one. Better 'Kind of Blue' I guess than The Archies, but still...

Vinyl - hard to kill. Especially in this resurgence of collecting records. I see posts everyday, lots of them featuring an old (or new turntable) and a spinning disc and an album cover of some obscure bit of recorded history. Sure, I subscribe to a couple of pages where you'd expect to see posts like that, Vintage Audio and some Hi -Fi pages... but it happens all day long on Facebook too.

You know what I think is neat about that? I think it's neat that all these young collectors are discovering a whole 'new to them' treasure trove of music. I've seen odd old Mike Bloomfield records and funny, obscure Bobby Vinton and Zappa and Cream and disco. I think that's great. Music lovers discovering music. Sure you can find tons on the net. Tons and tons and tons on the net. Endless varieties and styles and genres. You can find traditional music and secular music and Jazz and folk and blues and EDM and on and on and on... Want something from that little three recording label based in Berlin – it's available on the net! Everything Montovani ever recorded? Easy, it's on the net. Patsy, or Dolly or Roy or Elvis? Done, done, and done.

But there's something else going on with young collectors of vinyl that simply cannot be ignored, and that is the diversity of what they're collecting. Show-tunes show up as 'gems found in a basement' and lost Jimmy Buffet albums re-appear and are raved about, there's rough stuff and pop stuff and late night stuff and great stuff and sad stuff. Tons of stuff and it's mostly way outside the confines of 'Just the Hits'. The depth and breadth of what seems to be making it into collections is as vast as the format has available and I think that's swell! It's not just the hits of 1977 or 1961, it's the strange and obscure, the out of the ordinary and the magical. And it's all finding it's way into the hearts and minds and lives of a whole new generation of listeners.

At first I thought it was just going to be a fad, a passing parade and that vinyl would lose it's way within a summer of small attention, but I was wrong. Sales continue to rise, admittedly not at streaming music levels, but sales do continue to rise. That on it's own is something of a statement. Turntables are becoming more and more valuable – some reaching two, even three times their original retail price! There's the whole record care side of things, the brushes and cloths and sprays and spindle weights. There's protective sleeves and slip covers, mats and anti static guns! All this stuff is getting serious attention.

And I know why.

I know because I've lived it, seen it, felt it, smelt it. Want me to share with you? What it is that's so special about vinyl? It's not the vinyl. Well, not directly. It's what it represents – it's a personal collection of music that required effort and persistence and dedication to amass through a process that, in the end, means something to someone. Because no one ever asks to flip through your MP3 collection.


The Test

October 30, 2015
This past summer I had the great and grand pleasure to work with a small, dedicated group of young people from the Wachiay Friendship Centre on a message driven creation sponsored by Island Health. The result of those efforts was a little film called 'The Test". It's an HIV awareness video. It was conceived, after many hours of intense debate, written, story-boarded, filmed (on cell phones!) and edited by the group themselves. This is their first effort, and, considering that these people had...
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To Alex and Elyse!

October 13, 2015
What a fine day.
In this enchanted location.
For this magical event.

I'm R C – I am the proud father of Alex and now, too, an over-the-moon with glee father-in-law to the lovely Elyse. Whom, I'm sure we'll all agree, looks stunning and vibrant and so very happy today.  

The only thing that comes even remotely close to the joy you are sharing with us Elyse, is the pure, unadulterated love I see reflected in my son's face every time his gaze happens upon you. Thank-you for that Elyse, what a trul...

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Kerry Catherine Lawrence

September 9, 2015

For My Sister on her passing.

August 24 2015

Just in case, I'm Rob Crowston, K.C.'s big brother.

James Taylor sings:

“The secret of life 

Is enjoying the passage of time.”

We're all here today because my sister, our sister, our daughter, our mother, our wife and our friend Kerry Catherine Lawrence knew, despite everything that was going on with her body, knew better than most, how to enjoy the passage of time.

When K.C. First appeared on my landscape she pretty much ruined everything. 'Til then,...

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End of Joke, Laugh Here

May 4, 2014

The other night I was at a schmooz for a new media company. They were
launching an internet product that they hoped might be the next big thing. Cool
technology, big dollars, forward thinking – all the hype, all the right buzz words.
Lots of people milling about, some old friends in the biz, some newbies and the
usual hangers on and wanna bees you always seem to find at these things.
At one point I found myself standing in line, engaged in conversation with a small
group and one of the fel...
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Martin M Borycki - 26/04/1953 - 07/01/2014

March 19, 2014

My words, my noise from the Celebration of Life for my friend Martin Borycki...

I wrote these notes a few days ago in hope that I'd have something prepared  for today. I guess we'll find out together if that has become so.

It happened that it was Jack Kerouac's birthday.
Like our friend, Kerouac was a poet, a painter, a writer, an American take on a Zen Buddhist with attitude and quite probably certifiably insane.

My friend, our friend, Martin, was all those things and so much more.... he was ...
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The Wait of Words

February 9, 2012

13 years is a long time. A child can become a woman, a man may re-find love.

I cannot stop speeding trains, nor leap to untold heights, but it would seem that I am capable of living long enough to have something precious return to my life and in its happening, move me to my core.

The phone rang, and naturally enough, I answered. At first I thought it was a student, but no, it was someone much closer; much, much closer, and we hadn't spoken for thirteen years.

She called me. I was thrille...

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Why I Love Craigslist

February 9, 2012

Craigslist Ad:

We are a small & casual restaurant in downtown Vancouver and we are looking for solo musicians to play in our restaurant to promote their work and sell their CD. This is not a daily job, but only for special events which will eventually turn into a nightly event if we get positive response. More Jazz, Rock, & smooth type music, around the world and mixed cultural music. Are you interested to promote your work? Please reply back ASAP.

A Musician's Reply:

Happy New Year! I am a mus...

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But Wait, There's More!

September 29, 2010
My friend Jonathan Stanley works with a group of people that develop entertaining content in combination with amazing technology for the tourism trade. They build systems that enable visitors of major tourist attractions to experience the attraction through GPS driven technology and dynamic story telling . Better still, they offer their entertainment in as many languages as the operator might like to service.

The other day, Jonathan turned me on to a video that had impressed him with its compe...
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You didn't think...

August 23, 2010

When I was a little boy and got into trouble, my Dad would work the ‘discussion’ regarding my latest less than brilliant move, around to a point where invariably I would have to say ” I didn’t think…” hoping to add something like “…the window would be in the way”, or that “…the sink would overflow”, or “…the deck would catch fire”, but he of course wo...

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About Me

Rob Crowston I'm an award winning multimedia producer with a background, and it turns out a foreground in print, radio, television, and advertising. A sound engineer, producer, writer and voice-over artist. You've heard my work in many radio and TV spots, documentaries, corporate videos, audio walking tours and on-line. I've been an instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, an instructor at Langara Community College. These days, I teach creative multimedia production to young people at the Wachiay Friendship Centre ( WaMM - ) Along with all that other stuff, I live happily with my wife Shelley McGaw and our dog, Molly in the little community of Courtenay on Vancouver Island. My passions lie in high-end audio, deep in the heart of the Hi-Fi jungle and I care about music, recording, film, fiction and art. I'm fascinated by architecture, design, technology and their impact on our society and our culture.