Coffee and vinyl

About coffee and vinyl

My previous post was about coffee and wine. After writing it - I boasted on Facebook with my photo, where I sit with a glass of wine, with background of a box of German Riesling, which inspired me to those memories.


In addition, there were two more boxes in that photo. One of them with CDs, performed by Yasha Heifetz, the coolest violinist I have ever heard. And the other one - is vinyl discs album, with music for violin, written by Bach. One of the feedbacks on this photo  - amazed me. A few minutes after posting the photo, I heard that my phone signaling me, that someone was sending me some message. I looked - and this is my longtime, distant and forgotten friend from Croatia, Nik Orosi. He was surprised to see a vinyl disc in my photo. And he asked for my mailing address, to which he wanted to send me (as a gift) the newly released vinyl disc, with his music. Agree, the desire of Nik is quite extraordinary. Why the winemaker, who had the wine box at the photo - did not want to send me another box of wine? And the Sony company,  which also has a box with their disks, too, did not want to send me anything? But Nik Orosi -wanted. ☺

And then a couple of weeks went by and I have received the disk from Nik.  I have no possibility to listen to it the same day, it was not possible to do it for a few more days.

These days I was thinking about Nik's disk, I couldn't wait to listen to it. It recalled me the story, when long time ago I also really wanted to listen another vinyl disk, but I couldn't do it for a few days too, and I was worried about it. That was probably sometime in 1982. That summer I was in a construction unit in Kazakhstan. For almost two months I worked on the construction of houses in a Kazakh village in the midst of endless steppe. The work was difficult, it was necessary to dig the ground and to crush big  stones with a sledgehammer, and much more hard work. I made a little money, not as much as I had hoped. We returned home through Moscow and there I decided to come true one of my "delayed" wishes. I wanted to buy a real Beatles disc. Not a tape, but a vinyl one. It seemed to me that the "vinyl" recording was mechanical, contact, ie, almost materially transmitting the music. From the musician to the listener, there is a direct connection through these tracks, cut with a needle in vinyl, because they were cut directly, mechanically - from the voice and music of the performers. And so I came to a big music store at the  New Arbat street, where (as I was told by "knowledgeable" people) some black marketeers (called «fartzovschik») selled foreign discs. Fartzovshchik - if anyone does not know, these are the traders who "underground" sold the "deficit", that is, everything that was not in the open Soviet trade. The Beatles discs were one of the many «deficits», because they were not released in the USSR at that time. The store was large, two-storey.  And here in one of the corners I saw some of these guys. I asked them about the Beatles and one of them had such  a disk. As we walked away, he showed a disc that was in an envelope, taped from a regular photo paper, with a photo-developed «brand" cover. "This," he says, "is because the envelopes are unprofitable, the discs are brought by sailors in suitcases, and to take more disks, they throw away the envelopes, and here they print" non-brand"ones. But you need the disc, the music, not a cover. And the disk - you see, the record is cool. As you can see - there are almost no gaps between the tracks, because this is not a number disc, but a collective one, so they tried to record as many songs as possible, so it is almost impossible to see the gaps between the songs. So, we negotiated the price of 25 rubles. This (as for me) was a very decent amount, because in those days I lived a month somewhere at 40-60 rubles. Bringing the disk I already coming out from the store, and met another fartzovschik. He noticed my disk and became interested in it, asked me to show it. Looking at the disc, he immediately noticed that  there were no gaps between the tracks. Somewhat puzzled, he said, "Did you listen to this disc? You have to be careful, tovarisch. It would be better to check. Because these guys - they are such a people, who “may fuck you over, inexpensively”. They may have taken the disk of "Brezhnev's speech at the XXV census of the CPSU,"  millions of them were printed, and cost 1 ruble for 3 pieces; the sticker on the disk may be replaced- instead of the pink Soviet one, they may gluea blue imported one and sold the same 1 Ruble disk to you for 25 ". I was agitated. I`d approached several sellers in the store, who had turntables to listen to discs. But after seeing the "fartzovschik" disk - all the sellers refused to check it. There was nowhere else to listen and I wandered anxiously around Moscow until the evening, then went home to Ukraine.

The train arrived early in the morning, I came home, my parents were just going to work, the younger ones at school. I was waiting for them all to disperse, so as not to disgrace myself with that possibly-fake disk. And now no one is home, I put the disc on the player and with a fading heart listen to the rustle of the needle before the first song begins. The record snores for a long time, and in a panic I anticipate that now "loud prolonged applause" and the murmuring voice of the secretary-general: "daragie tavarischi ..." (“dear comrades”) -  but from the columns it sounds: "She loves you, ye-ye-ye !!!!"I shout for joy as if some "she" really loves me :) And still, putting that disc - I remember the joy that I then experienced. Well, sure, also there are the feelings of the soft, deep sound of these fossilized tracks, which, through their own voice and strings of their guitars, were cut by the Beatles themselves, in those fabulous  days, long before my birth. And now most of them are gone, but their music sounds and vibrates, so that its vibration is transmitted even to the hairs on the body, causing frost on the skin. It's kind of a weird feeling, it's hard to explain. Even when digitized from a vinyl disc, this deep sound with light cracking of the needle on the track creates some special effect.

That this effect exists - I had the opportunity to testify not in the 1980s, but in "our" time. When one of our baristas Sasha Galitsyn was going to perform at the World Cup in Colombia in 2011, we couldn't select the music for his presentation for a long time. He is a music fan himself, he had a lot of music, and I have too, but everything didn't fit. Just at that time, I got a vinyl disc, the violin music of  Grappelli, violinist from France, and Subramaniam, from  India. But for some reason, it didn't take long to think of such music to perform at the Barista Championship. But just then, listening to this disc, I noticed the date on the album cover, which was recorded in May 1984. And then it occurred to me that just in May 1984 Galicin was born. Nonsense, of course, how could this be related - ??? But just in case I plugged the turntable into my computer and digitized the disc. I brought a recording to Galicin, he "drove" his coffee presentation to this music and we realized that this is exactly what is needed. The lepton gods, astrologers, and «other extrasensorics" would tell us, of course, about cosmic communication, levitation, "eternal mind", "soul relocation", and other great devilry. But whatever they say - the music was cool, it just «perfectly fit» to the presentation. And most importantly, it liked to Galicin, who, if I had said the week before that he would be performing in violin in Colombia, he would have assured me that I had (at least) a serious coffee overdose.

In Colombia, when Sanya was performing - then with this music my hair was vibrating not only on my body, but also on my head, probably my hair was standing on ends. But I thought that maybe I was just too much worried? Sanya performed normally, not too high, but a decent enough 18th place out of 50 possible. Emotions gradually subsided, and we flew home. And what was my surprise when, after a few days, searching on the Internet for the keywords "world barista championship Colombia" - I came across a link to a television news channel from China. And there, in Chinese TV news, for about a minute, they were talking  something about that championship in Colombia, and all the time they were showing on the screen not a world champion, not other hi-rank competitors, not a Chinese - but they were showing Galicin, who was brewing coffee, with the same violin music from the old vinyl disc, with most of this report they were saying nothing, but just the music. I then found out, what was the TV channel - at that time it was the second largest TV channel in China. That is, hundreds of millions of people watched the performance of Galitsyn for the same music !!!!. What inclined the Chinese to show just this - Holy God knows. But I’m sure, it was because of the music. They just picked up and showed a piece of a performance, where a guy was doing something with coffee, playing good music. Because the Chinese - they are extremely musical, in their language a lot depends on intonations and therefore the harmonies of sounds are in their blood. So, they are great at music, instantly distinguishing true art from various bullshit, to that art the coffee judges still have to learn and learn.

But something "took me a little" away from where I started - from Nik Orosi's disc. You might ask, what is the connection between this Nik`s disk, me and coffee? So I will tell you that the connection  is direct. Nik Orosi once competed for Croatia at the World Barista Championship in Tokyo, in 2007.

There we met, I was there as a barista coach for Ukraine. And now Nick is not only making coffee at his coffee shop in Zagreb:


 but also creates great music:


Good coffee, good music and warm human relationships lead us through years and distances, from Tokyo to Croatia and Ukraine :)



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