TURNING VINYL INTO WRITINGS & DRAWINGS
I don't go in for endorsing products but I make no apology for passing on my enthusiasm for an outfit named Vintage Vinyl Journals. They have had the good idea of making rather beautiful big journals/notebooks by bookbinding substantial numbers of blank pages inside hard covers made from real old American LPs. I have one made from an old copy of Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II. The front, as you see, is made from Side 4 of the 1971 double-album, and the back from a key part of the album cover:
The outside cloth binding on mine is a darkish blue but I see from their website that you can get a journal made from another copy of the same Dylan album with a different back cover and with the cloth binding in bright red. Others available include one from the Rolling Stones' Aftermath and this rather lovely one using The Band's Music From Big Pink, which features much of Dylan's cover painting on the back:
To be specific, each journal is handmade from a real vinyl album and contains 220 unlined pages on 7-7/8″ x 7-1/2″ acid-free paper (70lb weight). The paper colour is Cool White and the case binding is sewn and glued.
I asked Katie Pietrak, who makes these journals, whether it worried her that she was in effect destroying a lot of terrific old records. Her reply seemed fair enough:
“95% of what we used is damaged and unplayable or at the very least uncollectable... some albums have peoples name written on the label, album covers have water damage (a lot of people store/stored their old records in their basements), most are scratched, promo copies where the album cover has a hole in the cover or a cut slit in it.. As you know there are millions of millions of records out there being destroyed and sent to landfills... I have boxes and boxes of vinyl that people have given to me (mostly “crap” that nobody wants) which most people were about to throw in the trash and I saved them hoping that I can bring new life to them by repurposing. (I’m working on pitching some private label journals, eg. Hard Rock, and then I can use these as I would cover the label).
I’m a vinyl collector -- I have boxes of vintage albums I would never cut (eg a sealed White Album) and boxes of new stuff that I won’t even take the plastic off of (for music I listen to now and I love I buy 2 vinyl copies - one to listen to, one to keep sealed and collect)... I wouldn’t lie, we do produce some (5%) journals out of new vinyl -- for example, Radiohead, Bon Iver, Taylor Swift -- it’s not our “core” business but we do offer that service. In this case we are taking new vinyl and cutting it.”
I admit I'm a stationery freak - I loathe other forms of shopping but take me to a classy stationery shop and I'm calm and happy - so it isn't surprising that I appreciate a decent journal when I find one. The promise dancing from all those clean, blank pages.The alluring smell. As writer and actor John Turturro (so great in O Brother, Where Art Thou?) said: "If I was a criminal, stationery stores and bakeries would be the two kinds of places I would concentrate on."