Monday, October 15, 2012

A vinyl resting place

I’m always interested in reading about how people these days get sent off to The Big Sleep.

In fact, death so becomes Pink Slip that I should set up a separate category for it entirely.  Just a quick graze through the last year or so came up with these posts:

And these were just my deathless proses of recent vintage…

Not that I’m by any means obsessed with death, or especially morbid. But what can I say? I grew up Irish Catholic. This is how we roll (roll out? roll away? roll on?).

All this is to underscore just how natural it was for me to glom onto something I saw in the Odd Jobs section on the Business Week site: an article on Jason Leach, whose company, And Vinyly, will turn your remains into a vinyl record. Forget ashes to ashes; you can have ashes to LP. (And talk about a signal advantage that vinyl has over digital. Try that with MP3!) And Vinyly has been around since 2009, but the service is just starting to get some traction.

He’s only processed four records so far—including one with the ashes of a DJ whose parents wanted their late son “to be played at his favorite clubs a few more times”—but Leach has had hundreds of inquiries. “I’m sometimes up 24 hours a day just answering calls,” he says.

As spinal tap starts replacing Spinal Tap in the Boomer vocabulary, and they start buying tickets to their final concert, I would expect that Leach will have more of those 24 hour days.

The service isn’t cheap. The minimum point will set you back £3,000 ($4,600) for 30 copies of a record that had your ashes added into the raw vinyl soup. And we’re not talking true LP’s here: you only get 12 minutes per side.

You can provide your own audio, or get Leach – who runs a couple of record labels – to tap some of his musicians to write and record a tune or two for you. (That’s £500 a pop hit.) Similarly, if you don’t have your own sleeve art, you can line up a portrait artist to do the honors for about £3,500.  Leach’s company will also take care of distribution for you, if you want your record to actually get into stores. No doubt there’ll be record shops just clamoring for these records. Imagine if yours went platinum?

No info on who does your liner notes, but, presumably you can hire someone to do that for you, too. (Maybe I’ll add this to my list of writing tasks.)

The article points out that:

…You can also choose which specific body part is put into the vinyl.

I so do not want to go there, except to note that this is between you and your crematorium, which, I would think, would charge extra for the carve out and separation. And who’s to know if they’re on the up and up? You may want to make sure that someone you trust is there to verify.

Your recording doesn’t have to be music, of course. You can do your very own Dylan Thomas on Caedmon Records – ars poetica, or if you’d prefer, posthumous advice, posthumous nags, posthumous love notes, or a rant and rave. After all, wasn’t it Dylan T who advised?

Do not go gentle into that good night, / Old age should burn and rave at close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Leach also points out that you can record sounds of nature, sounds of place, or just have your record contain dead air, which he’s considering for his own last word:

…letting the only sound on his final LP be the pop and crackle of his ashes vibrating against the needle.

I don’t quite see the point of that one, but, hey, my peeps are all word people. None of this sounds of silence for us. (You’ll get enough of that once you’re dead and buried, or turned into a record.)

Personally, I’d be more apt to make a video of myself for after-hours consumption, rather than just a recording. But I can’t imagine who’d want to play it. (Maybe once, if I died suddenly and someone found it in my special effects.)

If I did go the vinyl route, I do know that I wouldn’t choose silence. I’m just not sure if I’d do spoken word or tunes. Spoken word would actually be easier – I’ve always have plenty to say. But if I had to choose a couple of songs that had meaning? All I can come up with for now is R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.”

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