Sunday, 18 April 2010

Record Store Day 2010

Working in a record store on Saturday 17th April 2010 meant I was in for a hectic time. Internationally recognised as 'Record Store Day' it was an occasion to celebrate the record store's function in providing an educational, informative and congenial setting for the exploration of new and interesting music. Of course, the day-to-day reality can be far less glamorous than this and is often more about the bulk selling of a title not owing to anything other than its marketing acumen (and wallet) of its backers. However, yesterday was all about celebrating the continued rennaisance of vinyl as a format and the more interesting aspects of the work we do. Arriving at the shop (Rapture in Witney) at 8.25am to find a horde of people waiting outside was rather exciting and although we kept the limited edition product 'round back' until the clock struck 9, we opened the doors and there was a tangible buzz of excitement in the place.

As a shop we managed to procure everything we asked for in terms of limited edition vinyl, although unsurprisingly we were allocated a mere 5 Blur 7's and 6 Beatles 7's. This meant we decided to set up an ad hoc raffle with a draw later in the day to decide who would be lucky enough to purchase these gems. At the time of writing the bidding on EBay for a Blur 7 inch is up to £250.00. We sold our copies for £6.99. Was this stupid, ill-thought, naive? No. We decided to make the day about the customer and to give people the chance to fall in love with vinyl all over again. Some of the more interesting items included a Mogwai/Fuck Buttons split 10"; a Wooden Shjips 7" and a Flaming Lips double which comprised of a rendition of 'Dark Side of the Moon'!

There were over 50 entrants for the draw for each of the Blur and Beatles 7 inches and those that came back to the shop victorious did so grinning from ear to ear. Fortunately I don't think any of them were in it to sell on their prizes on EBay, otherwise we might as well have done that ourselves. No, the good old collector's spirit was pungent in the air, which ironically as a volcanic cloud hovered way above hung electric in as blue an april sky as one could care to imagine.

The day was a real success. Not only did we organise many live bands playing in Witney during the day under the clocktower outside Waitrose(!) including Hannah Lou and Trevor Moss of Indigo Moss, Danny & the Champions of the World and country/bluegrass newcomers The Roundheels, but even David Cameron was doing the rounds in his local constituency. Unfortunately, for it would have put the icing on a splendid day, he had left the vicinity prior to one of the members of jazz collective The Rabbit Foot Spasm Band calling him the naughtiest of 'C' words in the late afternoon haze, stunning the Waitrose shopping stragglers. and amusing pretty much all of us. Our festivities moved to a local club for some more live music in the evening but I must confess to sneaking home to rest after a crazy day and more importantly to fawn over my purchases.

We had people travelling from Wolverhampton, Northampton and Birmingham to attend and they all left with sackfuls of loot. In terms of sales, we sold over 150 different vinyl items as well as many CDs and nearly all the limited stuff was snapped up pretty instantly. As an insider did I manage to snaffle some gems? Well, I didn't put in for the Blur or Beatles but managed to pick up some far more interesting pieces. 4 in total - Midlake's 'Trials..' on vinyl; a Nick Cave 12" single; Soft Machine live in '71; and the Sabbath/Metallica split, which was admittedly an investment as the two tracks are rather horrendous. Sabbath's effort is a horrific version of Paranoid with alternate (read dreadful) lyrics, while Metallica's contribition is the terrible Frantic remixed by Unkle. Never mind, I'll send that one into the EBay ether. The other bits are gorgeous. Just so it wouldn't be too unmetal a session I bought the Xasthur demos on vinyl too.

I must congratulate Spencer Hickman of Rough Trade for organising the event this year, not to mention my colleagues at Rapture who continue to strive to provide a mine of information for folk looking to enhance their music collections. I urge any of you to make next year's event even if you missed out this time, but more importantly to support your local music shop (as long as they're deserving of that support) as after all, everyone goes to town but who wants it to be devoid of the wonderful life-affirming addition that is the record store.

I'm off to spin Soft Machine and enjoy Sunday's setting sun.

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