As threatened, throughout April - in celebration of Record Store Day - I offer up a daily post related to all things record shop.
And if any of it sounds like a Manifesto, consider it good practice for my election campaign next year.
Day Ten of this steaming pile of japery, kinghell boring bullshit and contentious nonsense...
It's A Comblimation Thing...
I'd hazard a guess that NOW, you need to know a lot less about music to work in, or even open a record shop, as opposed to way back when, BEFORE the invention of The Internet, and the subsequent democratization of the toll-free information highway.
I remember at my interview for the Christmas temp job at HMV, I had to answer like, 50 questions on music.
In order to provide customers with up-to-date product information shops received a weekly update for their Music Master catalogue, a huge red tome that we could turn to when our own knowledge was exhausted, a frequent occurrence.
Then there was the catalogue for the music that appeared on TV ads and in TV shows and movies. At Christmas the latest John Lewis ad always generated huge interest. This catalogue got updated regularly too, though you had to remember to throw out and replace the correct pages, especially when brands like Levis changed their ads more frequently than their models changed their underwear - imagine a punter coming in for Shaggy and walking away with a Stiltskin record... BLEURGH!
There was the yearly Summer Holiday banger, the Magaluf dancefloors throbbing to the sounds of Macarena or some other dreadful bullshit, the sun stroked slaggle so inebriated they didn't know what they were line dancing to, only that it sounded great, even with their head in a bucket, and the first thing they did when they got off the plane was show up in HMV demanding to know what the hell they were line dancing to last week - first week of June in HMV, the singles wall was like a throbbing lobster pot threatening to boil over. Gabrielle's 'Dreams' (1993) was the first Summer single that I remember 'blowing/throwing up'.
Basically, we had to cram a lot of stuff into our noggins, and between a shop full of noggins, we were able to cover most of the bases. Of course, no amount of personal knowledge or catalogues could prepare you for The Wild Card - the punter who didn't know what the song was called or who sung it, but would sing it to you anyway, even though they didn't know any of the lyrics or make any attempt at a discernible melody. Nowadays, that's called Britain's Got Talent, but way back when...Jeezus...
After a couple of years of enduring this I became convinced that at least half of the population heard sounds differently to the rest of us. Like dolphins. Or dogs. Or Ed Sheeran fans.
Graham 'Last Shop Standing' Jones has written funnily and exhaustively about people going into record shops and mispronouncing artist and band names. I experienced that too on occasion, Serene Neon's song from Titanic etc etc 'Course, that's not the same as MIS-hearing a pronunciation. In Bangkok I thought I was watching the controversially named Six Paedos until someone explained that the cacophonous racket they were making was actually a from-start-to-finish run through of Never Mind The Bollocks...
And so much for all that, eh?
Frequently, I encountered people who couldn't pronounce COMPILATION. COMBLIMATIONS, of which the Now That's What I Call Music brand was by far the most popular, saturated the Top 40 charts at Christmas time. I heard the word COMBLIMATION so often, I actually tore compilation out of my noggin space and replaced it with COMBLIMATION.
In an alternate universe I own a record shop called COMBLIMATION Records, and I only stock records that people can't remember the name of.