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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

Vintage trends keep up with changing times

Photo courtesy of Jon Teichman SWEET FINDS—Vinyl record enthusiasts rummage through cases on cases of every genre of music imaginable at a pervious vinyl record show. One mains trash is another mans treasure when it comes to vintage stock.

The culture of vinyl in the U.P. has shifted throughout the years and transitioned since long before Spotify, Pandora or YouTube were even created. Community members of Marquette and the NMU Vinyl Record Club come together often to share a similar passion and reflect on the history their findings have gone through. The next vinyl show will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday,  Jan. 25 in Harden Hall, the first floor of Lydia M. Olson Library.

Frequent vinyl record event Co-organizer Geoff Walker recalls his iconic memories of buying records throughout his life and the time he spent at his job at Tele-Tronics during his last year at Marquette Senior High School.

“In the early 80’s, we obviously didn’t have the internet. We also only had three TV channels. So there weren’t a whole lot of options for learning about new music aside from buying it,” Walker said. “So what was a hungry young listener to do? Sign up for the Columbia House Record Club, of course. Thirteen records for a penny, and then all you had to do was buy eight more.”

Walker told of how he used to take records to friends houses back then, bring them to school, go back to his friend’s house afterward and would listen to them all the way up until it was time for dinner.

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 “This was the early 80’s, and Marquette was awash in record stores: Records Plus, with the video game arcade in the basement, Tele-Tronics Discount Records, The Sound Center (these first three were all on Third Street), Ozone Of The North, Music Street…” Walker said. “Not to mention the fact that Shopko had a full record store, and Woolworth, in the Marquette Mall, had a big selection.”

From these retailers and the classrooms of Whitman Elementary School, records have also been a constant in the life of Jon Teichman, the advisor of NMU’s Vinyl Record Club and event Co-organizer. He recalled back in the late 90’s when he was a DJ at WBGU, a college radio station in Bowling Green, Ohio.

“The best music in the station’s collection was found many times on vinyl,” Teichman said. 

Once transitioned to Marquette, Teichman described the Shopko’s music department as a “huge cavernous cave of pop culture wonders.”

For cheap music, the cutout bin was the way to go. Walker explained that a cutout is a record that didn’t sell as well as the record company hoped. It would be returned to the record company by the store, a notch or hole cut in the cover and re-sold at a fraction of the original price.

“My favorite bargain-bin memory was one day in fourth or fifth grade, shopping at Shopko with less than $6 in my pocket,” Walker said. “They had just loaded up the bargain bin with 3 for $5 LPs. I didn’t even get to the letter B.”

Walker and his friend realized that if they both bought different records, they could hear twice as many songs.

 “We’d listen to ‘The Circle Jerks’ then-latest LP ‘Wonderful’ and bounce around the living room and get so excited we’d go outside and jump off the roof into the snow,” Walker said. “How yooper is that?” 

 Walker said he loves being challenged by new music, but that wasn’t always the case. He didn’t have too many chances to hear new stuff unless it was bought. Since there were limited resources, he often bought things he knew he would like and stayed away from unknown genres.

“I love the fact that I can listen to thousands of new-to-me albums and artists, thanks to the internet,” Walker said. “But I don’t remember the moment I first heard something online as clearly as I remember being introduced to something by a friend of family member.”  

Despite the ins and outs of vinyl culture in the U.P. specifically, it holds a secure place in the souls of many, and that passion has been built in families to last for generations.

“We have found new Marquette homes for over 20,000 records in the last few years, and there’s no indication that it’s slowing down,” Walker said.

Though vinyl is a big reason many community members attend these events, it isn’t the only reason. There are original video games and consoles, VHS tapes and handmade art, like jewelry and other unique creations. Having a variety of items from multiple vendors entice others to keep the community alive and share their passion for an item that may be different from the next. 

“I really have no idea what other people will bring to the show, but it’s the community, the variety, the diversity and the shared excitement that keeps these events alive,” Teichman said. “I think people attending these events love to be surprised, entertained and taken on a nostalgia trip.”

One of the biggest joys for organizers like Teichman and Walker is seeing a light-up reaction on someone’s face when they find a copy of their favorite record or item.

“The fun is in the sharing–shared experiences are what bring us together as people,” Teichman said. “Letting go of a particular collectible record, and when you see someone’s eyes light up, that’s a tremendous feeling–it’s cathartic.”

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