How Audiophiles Can Stay Sane During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Humour Story with Practical Advice

2020-04-13T10:03:23+00:00April 6th, 2020|Audio, Features|8 Comments

Surviving the Novel Corona Apocalypse

Slayer’s song “Disciple” off their brain-warpingly awesome 2001 God Hates Us All album contains the life-affirming chorus “God Hates Us All!” While this statement may inspire profound ontological debate on the very nature of God, existence, and impending doom, with the explosion of Covid-19 infections and a geometric increase in the worldwide death toll, now is the time to reflect on life as an audiophile and a music lover.

With each doom-laden day that supplants the next, it is becoming increasingly obvious that God’s wrath is being cast down upon us. Clearly… God is angry. Even more clearly, God hates people who drive hybrid cars, men with man-buns, and anyone who pays $6 dollars for a soy latte. God seems poised to strike down every communist son-of-a-bee-hatch who wears open-toed, sling-back, Nepalese combat sandals with grey wool socks over the winter months. Clearly, God hates boomers, the elderly, and everyone living in New York City. God’s vengeance will rain down upon all of us! The Corona virus has been sent by God to wipe the slate clean—or… semi-clean—and cause a massive worldwide die off.

You may drop dead of dehydration standing in line at the bank with dozens of elderly folks who’re trying to deposit their pension cheques. You may die when a morbidly obese elephant falls out of the sky and lands squarely on your head. You may even die from the dreaded Covid-19 Corona virus. Whatever the case, one thing is abundantly clear: you… will… die!

With this in mind, here are some suggestions for audiophiles to survive the oncoming apocalypse.

1) Keep Listening to Music:

Looking back, during times of great sadness and economic catastrophe in my life, music has helped keep me sane (or… semi-sane, as my long-suffering pseudo editor Suave would likely posit). Even during unimaginable chaos and crippling heartbreak, for me… music has always provided a great outlet for stress and emotional trauma.

In early April 2020, the world is a very uncertain place. Fear comes from not knowing what’s going to happen. With the Covid-19 pandemic, people’s jobs and lives are on the line. Right now, we need music. We also need humour. We need to be able to sing and dance and laugh in the face of uncertainty and death.

If you’re informed about the virus and you still find yourself counting the breathtaking increase in infection cases and deaths like Sesame Street’s ‘the Count’ on a meth bender, it’s probably best to turn the TV off. Why…? ‘Cause cable news mainly focuses on negative things. Yeah… this virus is a MoFo. And yes… we are in a bad place. It’s better, however, to focus your attention on something positive. Music is a very positive thing.

First… calm down. Take a deep breath, count to ten, and calm the ‘F’ down. Relax. Sure… the whole world seems to be collapsing right in front of us. Remember though, if you panic in the middle of a crisis, the crisis will only get worse. You’re better to smoke some happy spinach, crack open a beer, and play air guitar to the MC5’s heavier tracks. NOW is the time to dance around in manic joy, play air guitar, and pretend that you’re Wayne Kramer from the MC5; circa 1968.

From a psychological standpoint, audiophiles are more comfortable self-isolating than most folks are. Frankly, audiophiles routinely go on listening binges and self-quarantine accompanied only by our 2-channel rigs. With the exception of Buddhist priests and Tibetan monks who’re sheltered away in high-mountain ecclesiastical monasteries, audiophiles are more comfortable with social exile than almost everyone else on the planet is.

If money is tight, do remember that it costs nothing to listen to music over the radio or via the internet. An entire world of music exists a click or two away at your very fingertips. So take comfort in your music and try to stay positive during these difficult days.

2) Get into Vinyl:

If you can afford to, now is the time to get a turntable rig up and running. If you’re going to self-quarantine, you might as well sink right into the pure and organic sound of a 2-channel vinyl system.

Most vinyl nuts are outcasts, social rejects, and shut-ins who far prefer to spend time with their vinyl rigs than to have to interact with anyone on a face-to-face basis. Well guess what… now WE are the vanguard of the proletariat who’re setting modern social trends by self-isolating. So why not enjoy the current epoch of self-quarantining and dig deep into your vinyl collection?

3) Start Hoarding Vinyl:

While fools run to and fro trying to hoard silly things like toilet paper and bottled water, true vinyl nuts know that now… right now… is the time to hoard vinyl! If finances permit, this is a golden age to stock up on audiophile records. As the old adage states: when life hands you lemons, douse them in kerosene, light them on fire, and catapult them at Trudeau’s motorcade.

While you can readily buy vinyl online, independent record stores are currently taking a beating. So… try this. Call or email the owner of your local independent record store. Politely ask if s(he) is willing to give you a “private invitation” to visit the store one-on-one. If s(he) answers ‘Yes’, then waltz over with an N19 face mask, latex gloves, and disinfected cash in hand, pick out lots of records, and try—just… try—to negotiate a better cash price. These dark days, the owner will (probably) accept any reasonable offer. Alternatively, if the owner is not comfortable allowing you into their store, ask if you can order specific albums on their website or over the phone, and then pick them up “contact—less” style. Lord above knows these poor retailers desperately need your business.

Even the blindest of men amongst us can clearly see that one of the few items that will maintain its value during the oncoming apocalypse will be pristine vinyl records. So… start hoarding vinyl!

4) Clean, Sort, and Organize Your Vinyl:

Are you tired of waiting for your Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) cheque to arrive? Do you feel like a “lifer” who’s just starting to serve a lengthy prison sentence? If you can afford to buy a Record Cleaning Machine (an RCM), today is the day to invest in one.

Here’s a weblink to Kirmiss’ ultrasonic RCM that I recently reviewed:

Basic non-motorized RCMs can be bought online for under $250 USD. So stay indoors and use this unexpected *win-fall* of free time intelligently by sorting through your vinyl, cleaning all of the records you intend to keep, and then placing said vinyl into clean inner sleeves.

Think of it in these terms: you can spend however many weeks in self-quarantine being miserable; or, alternatively, you can use the time productively. While listening to your favourite albums, you can sort, weed through, and clean your cherished vinyl collection.

5) Test, Bias, and even Re-Tube your tube gear:

As the world melts down, ask yourself this: do you really want street bandits to kick in the door to your man cave and find that your vacuum tubes are old, incorrectly biased, and/or—perish the thought—in desperate need of replacement? Of course you don’t. The very idea of committing such a crippling ‘faux pas’ as neglecting your tube gear sends shivers of terror down any true audiophile’s spine.

In the landmark film Apocalypse Now! renegade prophet Col. Kurtz goes berserk. If Walt Kurtz had invested half as much time and energy into listening to music and biasing his tube gear as he did hunting down the Viet Cong, Marlon Brando’s infamous character undoubtedly would’ve been a lot happier.

And while sinking deeply into esoteric NOS vacuum tubes can (and often does) cause a certain amount of insanity and OCD-based mental illness, at least you won’t be bored while trapped inside your own home.

6) Tube and Cable Shoot-Outs:

If you have extra interconnects (ICs), speaker cables (SCs), power cords (PCs), and exotic vacuum tubes piled up, today is the day to conduct cable and tube *shoot outs*. While changing cables and valves in and out of your system(s), it’s also worthwhile to apply cleaning solution to all of the metal bananas, spades, RCAs, and contact plugs.

Now that you have the free time, you can dive on this like Oprah on a glazed ham. A nail polish sized bottle of Caig Pro-Gold contact cleaner can be purr-chased online and shipped for under $30 USD dollars.

7) Get into Doom Metal:

In a second article, I will soon provide some insight and suggestions into the exciting world of doom metal. I’d do it here, but there’s not enough room. Please look for an upcoming piece on one of NOVO’s websites titled: ‘Doom or Be Doomed!’

Parting Thoughts:

Finally, although I’ve spent 1,500+ words laughing at the Corona virus and trying to provide some dark humour, please take this epidemic seriously. We want as many music lovers and audiophiles as possible visiting our NOVO and NOVO High End online websites. As such, losing even one of you is not acceptable.

Stay home, be happy, self-quarantine, and stay positive. In a few months the Grim Reaper will have logged waaaaay too much overtime, driven Hell’s balance sheet deep into the red, and Satan’s minions will be forced to recall the dark entity back to Hades where s(he) belongs. We will get through this.

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    1. […] music lover advice, I invite you to check out Douglas Brown’s fall-outta-your-chair funny “How Audiophiles Can Stay Sane During the COVID-19 Pandemic” article. Douglas offers some great advice here on how to spend your time… with your music […]

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