Knights of the Turntable

Three days ago I get in the mail, at last, a huge package from Canada containing my first turntable – what some people around here might call a "DJ's Record Player". It's a lovely Technics SL-D202, which has seen some action, but who cares? My joy is slightly marred by the amount of money the nice customs people want for it, a bloody seventy percents. I want to murder someone, but, having opened the package, I forget about it.
Then I've to wait a whole night without trying it, because my living room amplifier doesn't have a phono input. First thing in the morning I go and buy a small pre-amplifier and also, in an afterthough, a 220V-110V convertor. That evening I start assembling the thing.
I clear a place for the turntable in the living room, a somewhat unwise act which will cause me some difficulties when K realizes where I put some of her stuff. I take the turntable out of the box and put it there.
With the turntable there are, in a seperate envelope, two unidentified parts which I've no idea where to put. I try and try, but they don't fit anywhere I can think of. I therefore put them aside and forget about them.
I connect the turntable to the pre-amp, the pre-amp to the amplifier, the turntable's power cable to the power convertor and the latter to the socket in the wall.
Tired but satisfied, I turn on the turntable and the amplifier (the pre-amp is on as soon as it's plugged in) and start looking for records to play. After twenty minutes I arrive at the conclusion that K had managed to hide them very well. After fourty minutes I find one – Franky Goes to Hollywood's "Welcome to the Pleasuredome". What an album! I put it on, turn everything on and put the turntable's arm at the right place. A loud scratching noise comes from the turntable. The amplifier, however, stays as silent as a pack of white cheese.
"Fascinating," I say. Further testing reveals the sad fact that the amplifier, despite being pushed in the right places, is not working. It is, in fact, not connected to any electricity source whatsoever, barring my very own magnetism. I therefore embark upon a quest of finding an electric splitter, for all the wall sockets are occupied. It takes me half an hour to find one, somewhere in my show drawer (I've only a single pair of shows in every given moment. Don't ask me why I need that drawer). Happy as a clam, I proceed and connect the amplifier, put the needle in the middle, relax, smile, and am greeted by a loud scratching noise which comes from the turntable, the amplifier insisting upon the dignified silence of a dishonored pizza.
"Intriguing!" I mumble. Turntable's on. Amplifier's on. Pre-amp's on. Everything is on! I re-check all the connections. They're on. I search for an available CD player, with which to check whether the problem is with the turntable or with the amplifier. After fifteen minutes of testing I discover that I've two available DiscMen, and that none of them actually works. I decide to let that go and concentrate again on the main culprit, that being the amplifier, and a short time later I discover that said article, while receiving a fair amount of fresh electricity, is not connected to any speakers whatsoever, despite the fact that two handsome speakers are very neatly arranged beside it.
"Well!" I say, and spend twenty minutes locating, fitting and connecting two cables (finding them is easier – I always keep spare cables in the wardrobe, to K's horror). I put everything back together, the turntable's plate is rolling, the needle touches the record, a loud scratching noise comes out of the turntable, and this time it's accompanied by a very loud scratching noise emitted by the speakers.
Now, having listened to Franky Goes to Hollywood's "Pleasuredome" in the past, I know that this noise is not to be found in the original recording. In fact, I now notice, the needle tends to go scratching all over the plate, jumping merilly without regard to the record's grooves. I therefore proceed to check the reasons and motives of the turntable in turning my tunes into turnoffs.
A close inspection reveals that the needle is sitting upon the record like a lump of dead camamber. This is a very good time to discover that the unidentified parts sent to me in a seperate envelope are, in fact, a ballancing weight for the turntable's arm. I put them on and viole – the screeching goes away.
Or, at least, half of it.
A short time later I discover that a turntable, like any record player, should be grounded not to the power source but to the amplifier. And then, finally, the thing works.
Now I'm buying records.
The fun!