Record Store Day is just a week away – on the 20th April.
Although RSD sounds like it should be some form of communicable disease, it is actually one of the most anticipated days of the year for hipsters, music obsessives and general nerdlings throughout the land. It’s right up there with the Bridlington Annual Star-Trek convention in terms of sheer adrenaline-packed excitement.
It is a day when we step back and think about how our High Streets look, and we ask deep and meaningful questions, such as “Since when did our ‘record shops‘ become ‘stores’?”, and “Why are loads of scruffy excited-looking middle aged men lining up in the high street? Is a new Wetherspoons offering free beer?” and (if you are under eighteen) “What’s a ‘Record’? Is that, like, an iPod for old people or something?”
It is also a great day for seeing long queues of (predominantly) men lining up overnight to buy different versions of things they already have, whilst moaning, apparently without irony, about how their wives have bought yet another pair of shoes…
The Record Store Day 2013 release list of releases has been er, released and the first tents have sprung up outside the entrance to London’s finest independent Record Store, Rough Trade East as the keenest vinyl hoarders look to be first in line for that limited edition box set of Ringo Starr 7″ singles. Sadly, any tents that haven’t yet blown away in a gust of wind – because it’s hellishly difficult to stick tent pegs into concrete – have been removed by Brick Lane police in the mistaken belief that they were the return of the “Occupy London” protesters. (“They certainly look like a bunch of protesters” said one policeman, “just look at their beards”).
It is also the one day a year when the plight of an ageing group of people who have been the backbone of the music industry for years, supporting it with little financial reward or acclaim, is deservedly highlighted. That’s right – The Rolling Stones are re-releasing their 5×5 EP. Dig deep folks…
This year expect to see more CDs on the lists of RSD releases – a welcome boost for the retailers who need to coax non-obsessive music fans (or “normal people” as they are sometimes known) from buying their music online or in supermarkets.
I shall certainly be one of the first in line at my local record store, Fives Records in Leigh on Sea.
I say “one of the first”: someone showed up at 2am last year, apparently. I’m not going to miss a night’s sleep for the sake of a copy of The Goat Remix Album, (as lovely as it is) so I shall probably shuffle up ten minutes before they open and hope that no-one else in front of me wanted whatever it was I was after. It’s lucky I have such dreadful taste in music – that usually guarantees strong availability of the stuff I want. And if I miss out on something – well – there’s always next year isn’t there?
There are, of course, irritating things about RSD. There are the eBay flippers who get up early and buy up everything just to make a profit. This is irritating because a) no-one should have to wake up early to buy records – waking up early is about as rock n roll as a Taylor Swift CD; b) it stops me from doing it (just kidding); and c) it lessens my (admittedly very slight) chance of buying a record that might increase in value.
This year, Jack White is the Record Store Day Ambassador. Not sure why you need diplomatic status, plates, immunity and an embassy to sell records, but well done to him for taking on the role. I just hope he pays his parking fines when he leaves the country. He has produced quite a funny video on his appointment which you can see here:
An interesting dilemma that RSD brings is whether to buy re-issues of your favourite records, instead of the originals. Last year a lovely two record set (and booklet) of Iggy Pop’s Raw Power was released – with both the Bowie mix and the Iggy mix – for about £40, which is about the same price as a mint copy of the 1973 original, and £25 more than later re-issues. Tom Petty saw some nice coloured vinyl re-releases, but £30 for Damn The Torpedoes is about £25 more than you’d pay for the original, black vinyl version. On the other hand, The Kinks saw Village Green, Something Else and Face To Face re-issued in coloured vinyl double sets (a mono and stereo version in one package). Any of these would cost about £100 less than the originals, so they were great value…
Best of luck with whatever you plan to buy – if you want a full UK list I have one here at this link and in the meantime I hope you will support your local record store this year – and not just on Record Store Day. Just don’t spoil it for the rest of us and get up too early. I’m sharpening my elbows now just in case I need to barge you out of the way…
Record #178 – The Rolling Stones – Five by Five EP