A Look Back At 2019!
I love this time of year where we look back and I have to say that 2019 has been another brilliant year for HiFi, Music and Hifi Lounge in general, so before we get stuck in I’d like to firstly thanks all our customers throughout 2019, many new faces and many returning customer’s, this year has been another brilliant year for us but without our brilliant customer’s we are nothing so we’d like to send out a huge thanks to everyone who came in to see us. It still amazes me how busy we get but I love the fact we actually get people visiting us from all over the world, a big shout out to Paul and Sue from Aukland, NZ who popped in to say Hi during the summer, it really is much appreciated so thanks again everyone.
2019 Open Days
I would argue that we have had our best selection of open days this year which have all been great fun and I look forward to continuing this with some more for next year, the first is already planned for February 15th, more news to follow, and our Boys Toys Go Karting Day was also great fun, even though I did get punted out of 2nd place on the first lap, it’s going to take a while for me to get over that I feel, so hopefully we will arrange a similar event next year as everyone was keen to have another go.
New HiFi in 2019
I would say 2019 was a really good year for new HiFi but maybe a bit quieter than some previous years for new kit but there were standout products from Rega with their Planar 10 which has been a huge success for us and their new Aura phono stage and Aethos Amp which are both selling well, Rega really are on it at the moment, but we also had the new fact Signature Range of speakers from PMC, Wilson launched the incredible Chronosonic XVX speakers, if only I had a spare £350k, plus we’ve had the new Nait amps from Naim, the new Arcam AV Cinema range of amps plus Sonus Faber have just launched their stunning new Olympica Nova range and Bryston have just given us their new BDA-3.14 which I have to say is a brilliant piece of kit and Fyne Audio seem to be going from strength to strength with their new speakers so all in all it has been another stellar year for HiFi in general, long may it continue.
HiFi Lounge Upgrades
As well as new HiFi in 2019 we had 2 reasonably exciting things happen at HFL, firstly we finally launched our new website, anyone who has done this themselves will know how stressful it can be, it just takes so much time but in the end we couldn’t be happier with the end result, hopefully now it is even easier to find the info and products you are interested in.
A much more important thing was that we finally took on our first member of staff, now I am a bit of a control freak so that was never going to be easy for me to work alongside someone but we are so excited to welcome Ady on board as he has fitted straight in, a lot of you will know him already as he has been helping out here at open days for years now, for me I didn’t want anyone from sales as that is not what we do here so Ady is perfect as he loves his HiFi and Music and that is all that matters really, the rest he will learn, it has certainly made things easier having him here.
Music of 2019
Now I am the first to moan about the state of current music but I have to say that this year has been a real cracker with some great new music being released. The year started extremely well for me as I discovered Greta Van Fleet, basically a band comprising of 4 very young guys, 3 of them brothers, who play rock heavily inspired by bands like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Rush etc, what I love is the fact that they are playing this kind of rock but bringing it to a new generation, Wendy and myself went to see them at Rock City last month and they were incredible, they have a very bright future ahead of them that is for sure, if you like your Rock then check them out.
For great albums released this year there are too many to list but for me the below are the standout albums of 2019.
Rammstein – ‘Untitled’ – You can’t beat a bit of Rammstein, their new album which is their first new material for 10 years really didn’t disappoint, it is worth the asking price alone for the track called ‘Puppe’ which is an instant classic, if you haven’t heard it yet check it out on Tidal, you can’t help but love it, we saw them live during the summer + we are going to see them twice more next year, can’t wait.
Bruce Springsteen – ‘Western Stars’ – Now I am a huge Bruce fan as many of you will know but I would say this is the best album he has released in many, many years, even if you are not a Bruce fan you should listen to this as it is very different to his past work, and if you have this album make sure to check out the Film Soundtrack version as it is arguably better as it is recorded live with an orchestra which gives a much more dynamic sound, highly recommended.
Lana Del Ray – ‘Norman F———G Rockwell’ – I love Lana Del Ray, I have bought every album over the years but when I listened to this new one for the first time I thought it is just another very similar LDR album but how wrong I was, after a few listens it really came into its own and I would now say this is her best album to date, by some margin, so please give it a few listens and hopefully you’ll feel the same.
James Blunt – ‘Once Upon A Mind’ – As I have got older I have really got into James Blunt but there is one stand out song on this album you must listen to, ‘Monsters’, I was driving home one day and was listening the album for the first time and half way through this song I started to cry, I had no idea why, so I played it again and listened to the lyrics and yet again I got all emotional, it is probably the most powerful song I have ever heard so please give it a listen, it is very moving, make sure you have your hanky ready.
David Bowie – ‘Conversation Piece’ – I nearly missed this album but a customer put me onto it and thank god he did as it is superb, basically it is a boxset based around Bowie’s 2nd album ‘Space Oddity’ but the standout piece is that Tony Visconti has gone back and remastered it as he says when they did it originally they only had a couple of weeks to put it to bed so to go back and spend as much time as needed to give us the release it should have been is incredible, it really does sound amazing, for me this is how all albums should be re-done, not just a remaster but almost a total re-recording, a bit like Giles Martin is doing with The Beatles at the moment, again the release of Gile’s remaster Abbey Road this year was another highlight.
Album of The Year 2019
This was actually really easy this year and it has to go to Nick Cave’s ‘Ghosteen’ I really have never heard an album like this before, obviously it was born out of sadness for the passing go his Son but as well as being melancholy, dark and emotional it is also uplifting and inspirational at the same time, Nick Cave never makes a bad album in my view but this transcends everything he has done before, it truly is a special album, a unique offering that can pick you up and take you somewhere that only music can, an incredible album so please do give it a listen or 2 over Christmas.
An Interesting Read
Finally one other quick thing a customer put me onto, thanks Dave, is a book called ‘The Memoirs Of Billy Shears’ now I don’t read books but this sounded like such an interesting story that I bought a copy and haven’t put it down since, in a nutshell basically Paul McCartney died in a car accident in 1965 and Billy Shears took his place, I know it sounds pretty far fetched but there is so much evidence out there to support this that many people now consider this to the truth, in fact the remaining Beatles apparently left clues on album covers and in their lyrics which this book unveils, I know it blew my mind when I first heard this conspiracy but if you have a mind like mine then I would highly recommend picking up a copy as it makes fascinating reading.
HFL MotorSport in 2019
A lot of people ask how our racing is going so I just wanted to do a quick recap on our Motor Racing exploits in the Radical SR1 Cup during 2019, basically I was much quicker over 1 lap than in 2018 but my race pace still is not the best but over the last 3 race weekends I qualified much higher up the grid only to get taken out of the races but over opportunist moves by the guys around me which has left me with unfinished business for 2020, I’m not sure if I will do a full season next year due to the costs involved but am certainly keen to do a few races and I may enter a Go Karting Championship at Rye House as I really enjoyed Karting again for our BTD but I’d like to thanks all our Sponsors again for their support in 2019.
So finally to wrap up, I knew I would end up babbling on once I started, again we’d like to thank you for all your support throughout 2019 and we look forward to doing it all again next year, I also just want to mention that you can keep up with all our goings on through Social Media, you can actually see our Instagram posts from our Homepage below which I update regularly –
Wishing you all a Great Christmas and Healthy and Prosperous 2020.
Paul & Wendy.