Today – Sunday 20th June 2021 – is Father’s Day. A day of reflection, appreciation and celebration for the men who raised us. But, rather than picking up a “World’s Best Dad” mug or another model car that he definitely doesn’t need, I’m here to thank my Dad for a gift I didn’t even realise he’d given me until recently. The gift of an unequivocal passion for music – and with it, a love for hi-fi.
It’s a running joke within my family that they knew I was going to be involved with music from a young age. As soon as Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’ came on I used to go crazy in my baby bouncer. There’s a number of home videos of me making up some questionable dance routines and another where I’m vibing to Bowie while playing with fuzzy felt. I remember asking Dad to “play the CD with the metal faces on it” (Pink Floyd’s ‘The Division Bell’) and doing the long drive to Cornwall with Bon Jovi at full volume. Thinking about it, there was rarely a day where music wasn’t being played in our house – and even now, the radio is on all day every day and there’s a hi-fi set-up in every room.
My dad spent most of his life as an electrician and sound engineer, working on everything from large-scale music events to the rewiring of the local pubs. I recently discovered that he was part of the team involved in removing the sound systems from the old Wembley Stadium – the remnants of which have found a new home in his shed. He showed me how to solder so I could make my own guitar cables, how to wire up speakers and how to sort a broken fuse. One day he told me he was going to the Co-op and came back with a brand-new turntable. I also firmly believe he’s the only man on the planet to still own a mini disc player.
Professionally I’ve always been focused on music. From originally wanting to be a music video director to working for the largest music venue chain in the UK – and now here I am at Cambridge Audio, dealing with the very equipment that helped shaped my youth. Dad’s happy too, because he’s just upgraded his kit with an AXR100D and some Minx XL speakers.
As we stumble our way through life, we don’t often stop to think about how our past has affected where we are today. How all the little things we were shown or taught as a child have stayed with us. Turns out, I didn’t really need to know algebra, but learning what an amplifier was age 5 would be fundamental to my professional development.
So this is me, saying “Thanks, Dad”. Because even though I told you I was bored at the time, you teaching me about hi-fi and electronics from a young age has left an impact that neither of us could have predicted at the time. I’ll pour a rum and coke just for you.
Written By: Tamsyn Wilce