Joe Theobald, aka DJ Captain Wormhole, Looks at all things vinyl 

IT’S been nearly two years since I first started writing this column and one thing I learned early on is that any prolonged written piece about a specific subject such as vinyl records is improved vastly by the expansion of vocabulary specific to your main subject.

Since this is primarily an exercise in the adoration of the vinyl record, I have accordingly been pushed in my weekly endeavour to find new terms for the king of formats. Records, discs, sevens and twelves, phonographs, platters, sound-circles, flattened musical orbs, groovey roundies etc.

Perhaps the tag that’s attracted the greatest consternation from non-wax heads is, wax. As in ‘strictly the dopest cuts of wax’ or ‘that’s a crunchy slab of wax, man’.

Having had several enquiries as to the meaning/genealogy of this term, I’ve decided to clarify in print.

Cast your minds back to the late nineteenth century; the dirty grey streets of London clatter away with the sounds of carriage wheels and tuberculosis and all the Victorian diggers aren’t flicking through crates because records don’t yet slot in to crates, they’re too cylindrical.

Thomas Edison made the very first sound cylinders out of tin — they looked like toilet paper tubes and they were rubbish.

The design was improved upon by Charles Sumner Tainter and Chichester Bell at the Volta Laboratory. They used wax coated cardboard cylinders instead of tin and that is why we sometimes refer to records as wax.

At some point, somebody figured out that discs would be more practical and would allow you to store thousands and thousands in the smallest of apartments.

The tiny zig-zag grooves found their way on to shellac, then finally polyvinyl chloride parallels of latitude.