My grandmother’s house still stands in a Colorado neighborhood that has seen it’s share of ups and downs. I looked it up. The house in the aerial photo and street view is just barely recognizable. I hardly ever saw the front in our day; we always went in and out from the back. I see that the old garage is gone, and the apple tree is no more.
When I was a kid, I thought that house was a magical place. We lived with my grandmother for a few years when I was in elementary school, so I remember the place pretty well – a four story late Victorian pile with extra pantries and stairways and balconies – all kinds of places to hide in and explore.
I remember the exact spot where the old Victrola phonograph stood in the living room. It still worked. We kids weren’t allowed to touch it, of course, but now and then one of the grown-ups would indulge our curiosity by playing some of the old 78 rpm records that still lay on the shelves inside the cabinet. And we heard stories and saw photos of people dancing to the music during the 1930s and World War II.
I don’t know what happened to the old Victrola, and I kind of don’t want to know. It was handed down to some other branch of the family, and there have been some fires and other disasters. But I always remembered it with affection and thought it would be fun to have my own. So I made one.
The Celestrola (the name is kind of a riff on the Celeste radio from last year) is Spyralle’s new exclusive release for the 2019 Vintage Fair, now open. The original mesh and textures with hand-painted detail are by Kerryth Tarantal; scripts are by Tailahr Winnikow. The lid and cabinet doors open and close at a touch. When the lid is open, you can touch the crank to wind the mechanism and play the record. The volume of the music can be turned all the way down to mute, so you can play your own parcel music – if you don’t mind cranking the machine up between songs!
The size of the needle and weight of the player arm completely horrified the 33 rpm LP hi-fi stereo generation, but it was what it was, and, to me, it was beautiful. The music may have been scratchy, but it was the voice of another time. I thought it was wonderful, and I danced.
There are two fractals on the Celestrola. Can you spot the other one? Hint: you may need to visit the demo at Vintage Fair or Spyralle main store.