Willy and Roy

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  • Published 20090220
  • ISBN: 9780733323942
  • Extent: 256 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

ROY PRESTON LOVED loved the smell. When the amplifier’s valves warmed up: their filaments glowing orange, they gave off a sweet musty odour. He opened the cabinet doors just to inhale it. Who’d have thought gramophones could be so seductive. Roy smiled and swung the weighty arm of the Royce Senior Traverser into place across the turntable. It had its own smell, too – light machine oil and heavy steel. What a contraption! Manufactured in Melbourne, it was worth every penny of the £100 he had paid for it. Twenty times his weekly wage – but he’d made hundreds of recordings. Not just theatre organs and jazz, but the classics, which he was increasingly coming to like.

Roy placed a fresh black acetate disc on the turntable. The right stylus with the right worm drive could engrave half an hour of music on its gleaming surface. He selected a heavy steel scroll the thickness of a broom handle and fitted it. It looked like an industrial machine – not out of place amid the wreckage he’d seen in New Guinea less than a decade ago – but the Traverser’s teal parkerised paint shouted modern.

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