Sunday, 26 April 2015

Record Store Day 2015 - Psycho, Goblin and Moomins!

Well RSD 2015 was great! But what's that got to do with films? Well there were some very cool movie/TV releases to be found, I was initially  undecided all week whether to go or not but the final messages off Gav and James on Friday changed my mind, So I set my alarm for 5am, 5am? On my day off what was I thinking???? But in saying that I am really glad we did go, Looking through the listings there was only a couple of albums I was after The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan which was on red and white vinyl and Sex Pistols - Never mind the bollocks picture disc which I was lucky enough to get, Emma Picked up Born in the USA by Bruce and also a very cool 7" of the Moomins  theme tune that had a very cool felt cover and extremely limited, So all round a great morning was had! I'll hand over to Gav to fill you in on the rest of the mornings events, take it away Gav..........

Record store day was a concept unknown to me this time last year and it passed me by completely unaware. In fact it wasn't until Santa got me a spinner for Christmas that I fully appreciated the meteoric revival of the dated format. In a world of digital matter and virtual products that it seems to me you never really own, it's comforting to know that more and more people are returning to old fashioned ways. Who needs shuffle & repeat when you can leave the comfort of the arm chair and physically flip the record over to hear the rest of the album. Don't even get me started on wanting to listen to the same song again as I haven't yet mastered the art of lifting the needle off the groove and seamlessly placing it back onto a rotating surface in between tracks! For me the love of vinyl is more about aesthetics than convenience. I love the whole package that goes into producing an album. Sleeve notes, gatefolds, variant colour plastics that go all trippy when being spun at 45rpm, limited pressings and so on. The collectibility of vinyl records inevitably goes hand in hand with this which is as much a gift as it is a curse for people like myself and Jonny T. Whilst some will see record store day as a cash in for recording companies to drain the finances of the consumer there is much to be said about the support for independent traders that RSD promotes. Since it's inception in 2007 larger chains like your HMV's are not allowed to take part and online trading is forbidden until the event has passed. Aside from savvy shoppers uploading their one day only limited edition exclusive pressings onto eBay for instant profit, RSD is all about the little shop and Jonny's cult films loves that, so much so we took the day off from all things cult and set the alarm for an early rise.

 Our first port of call is Pendulum records in Nottingham's Victoria centre. Almost as old as Jonny T himself Pendulum has served the good folk of the midlands for almost forty years, I clearly remember purchasing Nirvana's In utero album from there over twenty years ago. It changed hands in 2013 when new owner Scott looked to take the business online and re-introduce vinyl records onto the stall. In January of this year I re-discovered Pendulum when I purchased a re-issue of Bob Marley's Legend at a fraction of the price of other chains in the same shopping centre. I returned many times and soon enough a trip into Notts wasn't complete without perusing the catalogue of latest releases and forming a rapport with the small team behind the counter. In March my birthday presents came from Pendulum and around this time RSD15 was brought to my attention. I was encouraged to tick off the releases I was interested in buying on the day. Easter came and went like any other but tragedy struck Pendulum and Scott passed away suddenly.

Overnight the future of Pendulum seemed uncertain and the thought of RSD even taking place on the stall was all but over, for the regulars at least. And then news came in that Pendulum would be taking part and in honour of Scott it would be better than the previous year! Sceptical at first, which I now know I shouldn't have been, I eagerly awaited their release of stocked titles. Not only did they have the best array of RSD titles, everyone of the titles I had ticked in March were all present and correct, even the slightly more niche ones like Goblin's Chi? EP. I felt compelled to support Pendulum in anyway that I could and given the circumstances I even offered to volunteer and help out getting customer orders, fetch tea, and anything else I could do to help out in such a trying time. That night I planned out our RSD route, Pendulum at the top underlined in red, twice!
 We walked through an otherwise abandoned Victoria shopping centre at just before 7am, an hour before Pendulum would open. The busiest part of the mall was desolate apart from ourselves, the ravenous consumer. Comparisons to Dawn of the Dead were obvious and too good an opportunity to miss! A quick photo op and we are heading up the escalator. My heart was beating ten to the dozen. Had I massively underestimated other vinyl junkies on a similar pilgrimage to ourselves and would we find ourselves at the very end of a line, our hearts fading as every other collector in front of us walked away with our dreams? The bright 'Pendulum records' sign pops into view first, then I spot the head of a collector and then another and then nothing. I crane my neck for a better view, are there hundreds more behind the pillars lying in wait? The escalator ejects us from it's infinite conveyer and I am already walking faster to my well deserved place in the line. Instantly my mind changes focus and I am no longer worrying about standing on the edge of a void, mentally I am dissecting the appearance of our two opponents. What kind of collectors are they? Are they going after James' Bowie vinyl, Jon's White Stripes or do they both want my Goblin EP that in my own mind I had reserved five weeks before with a pitiful tick! For them the pressure is off, their gold and silver placings in the queue leave our group with a 'thanks for turning up' bronze to share between the four of us. The seventy or so minute wait ticks by quickly and the line thickens up behind us. Our ensemble attracts the attention of other mall patrons who must think we are all barmy. To the caretakers and security we are as much a curiosity as we are a nuisance. I'm sure the floor cleaner operator has better things to do on a Saturday morning than navigate through a plethora of music nerds one wave at a time. Our conversations flick between pop culture, US television shows and our shortlists of RSD wants. Ahead of us another queue forms in contrast to our own, although more than old enough to have antique vinyl collections of their own it is clear from their bewilderment that they have their eyes on a very different prize... "Mushy peas!" States our pack leader Jonny T. "Didn't your gran ever bring you to the market for peas on a Saturday morning?" My exhale of laughter quickly subsides into an in take as the noise of shutters over at Pendulum being to open. The light from within glows like the contents of Marcellas Wallaces' briefcase of treasure. A new member of the team is quick to pin up a picture of Scott on each side of stall and momentarily I am reminded of the hardship that Pendulum has faced in the run up to todays's festivities. Humbled and grateful of their existence, excitement returns and I am minutes away from RSD 2015! Gold and silver are handed their tickets and are asked to approach the stall front. Us four bronze's wait with baited breath as their spoils are lifted up for inspection. Even from twenty or so feet away the glorious lenticular beauty of 'Get behind me Satan' is held aloft. I feel the light coming from Jonny flicker like a lone candle. We all know that only one copy remains. U2's 'Songs of innocence' is next to be adored which for me is a quirky anecdote of how absurd RSD must seem to some. Why would anybody in their right mind queue for hours to buy a copy of an album which was given away to anybody with an Apple id only a few months before! Silvers treasure is slightly less celebrated and is ushered carefully into a bag leaving us unsure as to the fate of the White Stripes. Jonny consoles himself in the knowledge that the package didn't seem as thick as the one before. One half of team bronze departs leaving myself and James stood on the sidelines awaiting news from a far. It's good! Jonny's thumbs up must seem grim to some of the non placers behind our number.

 News of the White Stripes exit from Pendulum is broken to the crowd but I am already making my way over to the stand to hear any groans or disappointment. In the spirit of all that is good about Record store day I hope that there arn't any... I offer my list to Mary, a familiar face and someone who can talk to my son Fred about dragons at length. I say my hello's and offer my list, a small part of me wonders if she'll remember my titles from March and offer a nod of recollection. She doesn't. Noel Gallagher's EP of re-mixes is first from behind the counter. My teenage daughter, who is probably still a good hour or so from even waking up will no doubt be very happy with her purchase, no effort required at her expense of course. Next out is of course Goblin, not an LP like I was expecting but a 7" single. Somewhat overpriced at nearly £17 i'm not disgruntled, instead take in it's small but perfectly formed package and marvel at its collectibility. I debate with myself as to whether I should even open it. Suddenly a feeling of horror strikes and I coyly ask if I can pay my card, remembering previously that cash was the preferred payment. My request is received gracefully and I am invited into Pendulum HQ to complete my purchase. I see both Bowie's 1966 LP and a very beautiful picture disc of 'Monsterdon' being handed over to James. His big smile mirroring my own. I pass on my regards to the ladies who will continue to process vinyl for the rest of the day verbatim. My RSD is almost over but for them it's only just beginning.

Walking away from what in that moment feels like my favourite place on Earth I regroup with team bronze and Jonny T's good lady Emma hands me the last piece of my Pendulum trilogy, a superb repro of Nat King Coles's 'Unforgettable' on 10" and housed inside a retro white and pink Capitol records sleeve. I cannot wait to hand it over to my wife Gaynor when I return home. The thought of Nat being played on a Sunday morning with tea and biscuits compliments my awesome mood. Life is good and we are all leaving as winners, bronze can fuck right off!

 Since all our needs were met and all pressure was off none of us were quite ready to go home just yet so we decide to walkover to Nottingham's other great independent record shops and see how they are fairing. Music exchange has a large number of enthusiasts queue right around the corner of it's tiny store front. It's bright and sunny out and there's a definite chill in the air, nobody seems to mind as adrenalin and excitement fill the air. There's no way of us going inside the shop so we head straight for Rough Trade just around the corner. There is no queue and the shop seems to be handling the demand rather too well and I wonder if the Twitter reports of all night queues were exaggerated. As I approach the entrance I am given a ticket and invited into the bar area upstairs. It is rammed full of hopefuls clinging onto their stubs like winning lotto tickets. We see our buddies Rob & Simo about to be allowed into the shop below and extend our regards. I notice a few eyes trying to penetrate my Pendulum carrier bags in the hope of seeing it's contents. Tea settles my empty stomach and melts my tongue in equal measure. Soon it is our turn for a butchers downstairs and we are literally rubbing shoulders with everybody whilst a long snake of collectors line up around the shop for the tills. It's chaos but nowhere near the Black Friday surges you might expect, if anything an air of politeness permeates. Just about everybody has stacks of vinyl in their arms which defies Pendulums 'two item' policy three-fold. The walls of RSD stock marginally dampen the excitement we had experienced earlier. Here, for a short time at least, we could have had any number of White Stripes, Monsterdon's and Goblin. My eyes simply cannot take in the range of titles and varied artwork on display and I constantly have to out manoeuvre everybody else. A distant memory from childhood awakens when I see a gorgeous stitched material sleeve for the 'MOOMINS' theme tune on 7". Solid gold in Emma's eyes who is quick to snap it up! I settle on the 'Psycho' soundtrack but think that the bright blood coloured sleeve art doesn't really suit the black & white approach of the original film. Still awesome though. I cast my eyes over the wall of cool a second & third time and spot an essential purchase that had escaped my attention after reviewing Pendulum's catalogue several times in the last few days alone. Power glove EP1, limited to 1000 copies on lush red vinyl! If you take John Carpenter's classic synth and allow a horny 90's video game soundtrack to molest it you end up with something like Power glove's tongue in cheek retro loveliness!

 At just under £16 it is a must have so I queue up in front of a couple of two annoying teenage girls debating the devastating loss of not getting Biffy Clyro. Perhaps the only negative feeling I had had the whole time. On the final furlong up to the till I cross paths with Simo who had done really well this Record store day. He might have emptied his wallet on Northern soul but he had at least a kilo of 180g vinyls to make up for it. Outside a relieved James has scored the concert tickets he so desperately wanted. Mission accomplished.

Once again team bronze part  company, this time for good, and James drops me off at home. I had a date with a bacon sandwich and a lawn to mow.

Bigmangav April '15

1 comment:

  1. Superbly Written Piece from Yer Man Gav..RSD 2015 Was Ace..