Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sniffin' Sleeves

A recent post by C in her terrific 'Random Access Memories' series over at Sun Dried Sparrows (here), began with her thoughts on a humble LP sleeve. This got me thinking. Am I the only one round these parts who was prone to sniffing their LP sleeves? It might sound a bit weird these days (ever tried sniffing an MP3?), but sometimes the combination of ink and cardboard created a certain unique fragrance that, over time, became as evocative as the design on the front and the music housed within - well to me anyway. If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still recall the individual smells of my original copies of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band's 'Impossible Dream', Pink Floyd's 'A Nice Pair' and 'Raw Power' by Iggy & the Stooges. In fact at a car-boot sale a couple of weeks ago, I picked up and discreetly took the nose of a copy of 'Caribou' by Elton John, just to see if it had the same distinct and memorable aroma that my own LP sleeve had, back in 1974 - alas it didn't.

One LP in my collection that definitely smells exactly the same as the day I bought it in 1982, is 'Strawberries' by The Damned. Initial copies came with a heavily scented lyric sheet and the sickly sweet fake strawberry smell is still detectable a mile off. I don't need to put my nose anywhere near it.


TheRobster said...

A sleeve-sniffin' fetish, eh? Have you searched the internet? There must be a website out there that caters for that!

(Don't tell anyone, but I know exactly what you mean. The smell of a newly-purchased record was one to behold.)

drew said...

There was a record shop in Airdrie when I was a kid that smelled of vinyl more than any other and every now and again if I sniff a new record I am transported back there with all the singles up on the wall behind the counter and the scary looking older boys who hung about the place. Record shops don't smell like that anymore.

C said...

Ooh, I've never thought about this that way! I love the smell - well, what it evokes - of vinyl generally, and therefore that record shop smell, which must include the scent of the sleeves too - but I had only ever thought of it as a general thing and never considered their *individual* smells!

What The Robster says about the smell of a newly-purchased record is something I also used to love but with books. The smell of a new book, mmm. Those crisp pages and the uncreased spine... full of promise.

Unfortunately I have a cold at the moment, otherwise I'd go and dig out the small selection of albums in original sleeves that we still have and have a good sniff!

Anonymous said...

I don't recall if I ever actively sniffed a new LP sleeve but they definitely had an evocative aroma. This reminds me of my need to smell the pages of a pristine comic annual (i.e. 'The Dandy' or 'The Beano') whenever I received one of Christmas Day. Very special indeed.

Swiss Adam said...

Yes- to new sleeve smell and new book smell. One of life's simplest pleasures.

Ramone666 said...

Remember Stiff's wonderful Akron Compilation? My copy still smells vaguely of rubber after all these years.

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