Important Reader’s Digest Correspondence

A letter arrives in the post:

Dear Mr Key

I was interested to read your comments about The Readers’ Digest, which was a formative influence when I was growing up also. An ancient companion of my late grandmother lived with us, and was a subscriber: she would leave copies outside her door when she’d finished with them and we all pounced on them with glee. As well as the magazines, she received a 78 rpm record every month from some sort of listening-club associated with the publisher, and my brother and I were intrigued by these, as she never allowed us to hear them (though we endured endless Caruso, Bing Crosby and The Spooncat 5 on her wind-up gramophone). She explained that the Readers’ Digest records always got broken in the post, and we never wondered why she didn’t simply cancel the subscription.

She’s been gone for decades; but her wind-up gramophone remained, and when we were cleaning it up recently to send it to auction we found just one of those white-label Readers’ Digest 78s, still extant in a thin drawer in the base of the machine. It’s lo-fi stuff – and pretty tame these days – but I’ve recorded the ‘with vocal refrain’ section in hopes that it will be of interest to your readers. I used ‘declicking’ software to remove most of the surface hiss but there’s no curing the damage at the end. Doubtless we have the Royal Mail to thank for that.

Best wishes
Roland Clare

♫♫♫ aunt-maud-78rpm ♫♫♫

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