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A variety of minority religion, Hi-fi is a faith in that belief in something that is not subject to proof is paramount. It certainly meets the classical definition of faith:
- “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Heb.11:1 (NIV)).
All of these have led, inevitably, to a need for the recognition of the existence of a Divinity, who is perceptible only to those who have Faith, and who is silent to those who are sceptics and unbelievers. The Divinity has many sacred names, but the one that has come down to normal mortals is hobby.
The Church of Reproduction
It has led inevitably to the creation of The Church of Reproduction, and all who can ascribe to the Ten Commandments, as laid down by Hobby on Mount Vinyl, are automatically members. Here they are, as spoken by Hobby and later engraved on tablets of purest 180g PVC/PVA copolymer (with apologies to Moses and Ex.20 (KJV)):
I am thy Hobby that has brought thee out of the land of Idiots, into the house of bondage:
- Thou shalt have no other hobbies before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto me any craven remarks on cables, or on green pens or power cords or supports or amber or CD-enhancing liquids or the fact that amplifiers all sound the same or any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth that could possibly (or impossibly) have an influence on sound quality, or Russ Andrews. Thou shalt bow down thyself to them and serve them, for I the hobby am a jealous hobby, visiting the iniquity of the fathers unto the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that raise logical and scientific objections against me. And showing no mercy to thousands of them that love me and keep me in profit.
- Thou shalt not take the Naim of thy Brand in vain, for the Brand will not hold him guiltless that taketh its Naim in vain
- Remember the Sabbath day to keep it wholly for demoing new gear. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy journal reading and surfing, but the seventh is the Sabbath of thy HOBBY; in it thou shalt not do any work, neither thou nor thy son nor thy daughter nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the HOBBY made the earth, the active, the neutral and the alternating current and all that in them is and demoed it all on the seventh day, Therefore the HOBBY listened on the demo-day and hallowed it.
- Honour thy cables and thy interconnects, that thy days may be long upon the kit that thy HOBBY giveth thee (at least until the next upgrade, at which point thou wilt need new ones).
- Thou shalt not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs (see commandment 2).
- Thou shalt not commit adultery with sceptics and unbelievers.
- Thou shalt not steel, unless it be called Mana.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against tweakery.
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s, with the exception of his hi-fi, so that the upgrades continue unbroken.
- Thou was supposed to stop at 10!!!
In the past, the Hobby has spoken through his servants the Profits, such as St. Ivor of Caledonia and St. Julian of Salisbury, and the outpourings of sacred literature such as “Hi-Fi Choice”, all devoted to the worship and extolling of the HOBBY, but now he calls on all hi-fi owners everywhere to repent, to discard their unbelief and to embrace the sacred lore of communication with the HOBBY through better power cords, interconnects, cables, stands and tweaks of all manner. Forgiveness is possible, even at this late stage and even for those stricken with the unspeakable heresy of digitalis, for the time is short and soon the End Times will come. The Righteous will pass to Paradise where reproduction will be perfect and the sweet spot will cease to exist, because everywhere will be a sweet spot.
However, for those who persist in unbelief, their ultimate (and dare we say it, well-deserved) fate will be terrible – they will be thrown alive into the lake of molten PVC, moulded into records and played at a stylus pressure of 2 tons, recast again in the lake of molten PVC and played again ad infinitum. Repent, ye sinners, before it is too late!
Members of the Church shall be required to take unto themselves the name “Bagehot”*, the way Sikhs are all required to take unto themselves the name Singh (lion). The Church does not require offerings, but Hobby must be placated by constant upgrades. Audio Nirvana will only be reached at the Eternity of Perfect Reproduction. The greater the upgrades, the better shall the position of the believer be in the Eternity.
The position of Supreme Pontiff of The Church of the Reproduction is currently vacant. It resembles that of another large religious organisation, and because of that and because the True Believers achieve great spiritual highs when communing with the Hobby, s/he bears the title of Dope. All members of the Church are entitled to stand for election as Dope, but in reality only those with equipment whose purchase price resembles the Gross National Product of Belgium and/or Mana levels exceeding Phase 11 have any real chance in the Sacred Conclave of Barimals of the Church. Election is announced by the white smoke of the Sacred Dielectric from the chimney of the “Bricklayer’s Arms”, Hounslow, Middlesex. The coronation of the Dope takes place shortly thereafter (s/he pays).
About the Author
Walter Bagehot (1826-1877) was the most famous editor of “The Economist”. His famous comment on British Royalty is also appropriate to hi-fi - letting the light of reality in on it would destroy the magic.