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a blog by Chris Barrow

Vinyl, The Three Degrees and online subscription services

Back in September. my children collectively bought me a record turntable as a birthday present.

It wasn't long before the accompanying speakers and table were added and now I'm very pleased with the new music corner in our dining room.

Sadly, my extensive collection of vinyl dating back to the 60's were the victim of a much earlier marital separation and so I'm starting again from scratch.

Most of the vinyl you see in this photograph came with the current Mrs. Barrow, although the metal record case on the bottom right of the photo contains a series of house music compilations on permanent loan from #1 son Jon Barrow, who did quite fancy his chances as a DJ when at university.

So currently a very eclectic mix of other people's tastes.

There are a couple of places in Altrincham where I can begin the process of building my own collection back. One a "proper" record shop and the other a caravan in the main shopping centre that doubles up as an artisan coffee stall and second hand shop.

Having said that, we are now a tier-2 post code and I'm not overly keen on walking into town, let alone thumbing through stacks of grubby covers looking for hidden gems.

Enter "The Retro", one of a number of online services that will package music in line with your chosen genres and send a surprise package every month.

My three chosen categories were classical, soul and electronic and my first package arrived yesterday - I'm looking forward to Saturday evening's kitchen party, especially as my first parcel includes "The Three Degrees - New Dimension".

That will foster happy memories of a sales convention in Athens - 1985 - a luxury hotel in which we held a black-tie dinner al fresco and said female trio were the main entertainment after our gala dinner.

The Three Degrees were on stage across an olympic sized swimming pool, into which the guests were quite happy to jump, fully clothed and somewhat giddy (you might say), at the end of their stellar performance.

I digress.

What the arrival of said LP's did remind me of was the extent to which we have embraced "subscription services" as a means to make our lives simple.

No time to travel, to make choices or to think - so let someone else do that for you.

  • Brew Tea send me English Breakfast and Earl Grey;

  • Hello Fresh provide us with the ingredients and instructions for 4 splendid mid-week meals;

  • Naked Wines allow me to save for an extensive Christmas collection of wines and spirits;

  • Wired magazine keeps me informed on the latest developments in ideas, technology, design and business (and I still prefer the print media edition);

  • Lucky Saint provide non-alcoholic beer to keep my dry mid-week;

  • Harry's send me razors and shaving foam as well as other "men's health" goodies.

As we become accustomed to the Covid environment, there is already compelling evidence that more of our consumption will take place online and by automated subscription.

Online sales have been a major beneficiary of the coronavirus pandemic (see below) and we are all embracing new ways to buy as well as communicate. Don't miss that boat.

I wonder how dentistry can take advantage of this - perhaps an innovative dental entrepreneur will think about how oral health products could be turned into a subscription service - if that's already been done, let me know. Or maybe we should consider upgrading our dental plans to include a regular delivery of tangible products?

No doubt there is many a high street retailer wondering "When will I see you again?"

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