May has arrived


Dear old Hastings is a nostalgic town. May brings our Jack in the Green festival which harps back to our pagan times. Any excuse to indulge the past!

So Nostalgia! Do you suffer? We do. Did you know doctors used to treat it as a disease? So powerful can it be that both advertising executives and politicians trade on it, (not to mention the music business). We hear you say what has this got to do with music or its reproduction? Well a lot more than you might think. Following a recent in-house straw poll we at MFA would be as bold as to say far more of your musical choice is influenced by this emotion than you or anyone else would care to admit. When we talked about it we were all surprised at how it affected our musical lives. Is this right?

Wether your nostalgia bug is good or bad depends if you can pass the new music test? Simply this means does your music collection also include new artists. Are you prepared to listen to and buy music by the up and coming, the unknown and the yet untrendy. I am glad to say we are all able to pass on this one, and in addition to pass the music store listen test! When was the last time you bought music you knew nothing about, after hearing it playing at the local record store? For good or bad we at MFA do this all the time! But more of this some other time. Back to nostalgia. 

As this is written we listen to the Bowie soundtrack to the BBC’s adaptation of the Buddha of Suburbia. Taken from a great book, a life affirming piece of television and the whole thing packed with nostalgia for people of a certain age!! The theme music is still relevant to his fans, and Bowie manages to take you back to the very early 70’s and into 1979 with catchy songs, post punk anthems, ambient themes and jazz funk. In the sleeve notes Bowie states “my personal memory stock for this album was made up from an almighty plethora of influences and reminiscences from the 1970’s”, he then goes on to list them. What a list and as they all could relate to the whole MFA experience its heady stuff. A much underrated masterpiece. Check it out (and the sleeve notes) ASAP.

Well as a good friend of MFA often says it may only be all memories these days but boy what memories, and lovingly brought back to life by musical nostalgia. So a little non complete list of the music that makes us go all nostalgic and reminiscent in our workshop:-

First two Roxy Music albums (featuring Eno).

Britten Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra and or Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf. 

Astronomy Domnie by Pink Floyd. 

Nick Drake (River Man in particular).

King Crimson (The Night Watch).

Heroes and Where Are We Now. 

From gardens were we feel secure by Virginia Astley.

Waterloo (Abba).

As well as the music the equipment used to reproduce it can take you back! We are famous for our use of tape sources at the hifi shows we attend. We make no apologies for using various tape decks as they sound to our ears very right. We are often accused of nostalgia for our tape use but the majority of our visitors get why we do it! Likewise older quad equipment is held by us in great reverence and used by us all at home and often at show demos.

But if old equipment, and the nostalgia it evokes, is your particular thing then the biannual Audio Jumble is a must for you! With second hand equipment for sale, which dates back to the beginning of audio, to digital devices which are no longer the state of the art, there is something for everyone. We often go to buy, but also to demonstrate, invariably using our equipment with vintage gear. The whole day evokes nostalgia but leaves you thinking has progress really contributed to better sound?

So as far as we are concerned nostalgia and its resulting reminiscing can be either good or bad. Good because so many great things come from the past, but bad if you spend all your time there and can not accept what good things are currently on offer.