Pop Report Melbourne Audio Club October


Pop Night 10th October 2014


Young man says ‘You are what you eat’ – eat well.
Old man says ‘ You are what you hear – hear well.
You know what you are, you don’t give a damn;
……..with apologies to Genesis – Selling England by the Pound

We arrive Tom and I, it’s early at Paul’s. I like Paul, he is a left hemisphere of the brain thinker like me. He has a pleasant view of the world, a world in Elsternwick where vinyl has eked out a place. He tinkers with valves, messes with capacitors, turntables and power supply’s solid state  stuff and DACs. I digress.
However on this occasion Paul is standing on his nature strip eating something from a bowl with a spoon……it’s 7.30, it’s dinner time, this is his dinner. Now, I don’t know about you, but what ever could be nutritious, a complete meal and come out of a bowl eaten with a spoon on a nature strip?
While on the nature strip we spot the gigantic sale board next door. We inspect his neighbors house, recently renovated with enough largess to attract a few million large at auction. Soon, he exclaims, wistfully. Our eyes divert to Hartington Mews, Paul’s abode. No pool, no second floor of endless rooms and ugly largess here. Sensibly he has invested his fortune in tubes, DAC’s, amplifiers, more DAC’s and speakers read Altec, Quad, Spendor and did I mention DACs, he likes DACs. He tells me he purchased a DAC from Italy, he caresses it, turns it over, it’s special, an Audiophile quality DAC, he crones. “Only took three days to arrive from the date of order, all the way from Italy,”he whispers. Yes Paul, if you were buying so many DAC’s from me I would also be certain of delivering in three days! The life of an Audiophile. Equipment from all around the world. Sound that is good. Life that is good.
Much later he tells me his girlfriend, very proudly Russian, is in to Boney M’s, Rasputin and is soon to move in. We play it, probably the track of the night. Yep she has excellent taste and I bet she is a wizard at Beef Stroganov. I’m thinking this would certainly be a good culinary move for Paul. Quicker than you can scream Rasputin, your bachelor diet consumed on the nature strip, is kaput. Practical with a Slavic no nonsense demeanor, she will sort out your sock drawer. Cook, clean and wash all with wink and a smile. While explaining why you need a spoon for Borscht and a fork for your Bliny. Ok, I’m just kidding. Congratulations to both of you.
And speaking, as we were, about Rasputin, Boney M and one of the standout tracks of the night, ra ra Rasputin. I tell you it’s all we could do to stop singing along.  And damn, so close we were to jumping around like Cossacks, all of us.
I should explain the feature, the speakers. You see Paul has a pair of last centuries legends, Altec Valencias. Recently acquired at great expense from his good friends at ebay. Now these are not your common or garden variety of speaker box. Although, they could be used to destroy weeds. Why? They have a killer mid range. Its sharp, bright, fast and lethal. Paul plays it loud, which can leave you bleeding from the ears. The track Breathe from The Prodigy on remastered vinyl produced the aforementioned gush of blood. Enjoy it? Why, hell yeah! I can take care of the EN & T Specialists Fees later, mate.
But it’s a Pop Night Paul, so why does it sound like Kaleidoscope……..whatever that is. Do we care ? Why, hell no! The music is provocative and interesting. Paul always leaves you scratching your head and wondering. Why did that work? At a whim he played, Richard Claydermens Song of Joy, it must have been a whim or else why would you play Helmut Zacharias, Reach Out For Me, also. But on the night with his fastidious and eclectic taste for equipment and music it always fits.
The night would not be complete without a few words about the supper. I will set the scene. The boys are getting testy it’s after 9.30 and Gerald’s sandwiches are languishing unopened still, on the table. The music still playing. An excellent biodynamic goats cheese with quince paste, beckons. But what? The tracks are still coming. Someone says, “C’mon it’s only just one more 2 1/2 minute track”. I can sense the tension and a little mumbling. Are we ever to be sated, Gerald?
But finally the music is stilled. It’s Supper Time. Next scene the kitchen and an already overloaded gas oven, a gas grill gently warming the Stuffed Turkish Bread. But temperatures are rising. There is adrenalin in the room. Yep the top of the Turkish Bread is alight, flames dancing up five to six inches from its surface. This is Street Food at its finest. But hang on, we are still in Paul’s kitchen. The flaming offering is vigorously removed still flaming from under the grill. With gusto it is launched towards the kitchen sink. With a gasp and a couple of profanities it is extinguished post haste. Paul is hyperventilating, maybe the girlfriend should have moved in earlier. We are very impressed, such flare, so dramatic, imaginative and with a touch of danger just lurking. All agreed the subtle smoke flavor added to the Turkish Bread was sublime. Thankfully the sandwiches are open, no drama here. Everyone resumes their usual prater, consuming what’s left of the excellent food.
Major Tom is reprised with Ashes to Ashes and Bowie. Matt regales us with a fascinating story from an earlier life, about a girlfriend in love with Van and not him, presumably. At the time, circa sixties slash seventies he exclaims, he loves her but not Van. He recants hears one of the seminal ground breaking and enduring albums of the sixties. And now he loves Van but not her. Paul loads up the record, after several misplaced attempts to find the right grove, it settles successfully on Madame George. Yes Astral Weeks changed my life, Richards and Matts. Maybe it changed yours, music can do that. This was Van’s second album only, after Brown Eyed Girl. Lou Reed walks on the wild side, Leonard Cohen explained his secret life, Cat Stevens morning has broken. I don’t know what time they finished, but my morning was broken around 1am

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