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 Twelve of this steaming pile of japery, kinghell boring bullshit and contentious nonsense...
'(You Threw Me Out 'Cause)...I Went Digging For Gold
And I Came Home With A Handful Of Coal...' - Chris Cornell, Call Me A Dog 1991.
Warren Ellis' 2021 book 'Nina Simone's Gum' made a big impression on me, because as well as being very well written, it's the first time a book has perfectly elucidated the passions and extraordinary dedication required to be a collector of RANDOM WORTHLESS SHIT*
I type this surrounded by shelves of books of every kind; piles of CDs and records; shoe boxes stuffed with gig tickets, zines and magazine clippings - and I'm writing this on the toilet; you should see the rest of the house. Heck, maybe one day you will when Dion Dublin turns up with a daytime TV crew and a flamethrower...
As this year's RSD releases start to arrive at the shop it got me thinking about the 'hobby' of collecting stuff. Personally, I only collect records that I intend to play. I only collect toys I intend to play with. In theory that means I'll never stop collecting stuff because I'll always want to listen to records and I'll always want to play with toys.
(I once bought an entire collection of GI Joe action figures off a young lad who worked part time at the shop. My new girlfriend popped round to visit me at home and I had my GI Joes all over the living room - COBRA were carpet bombing the sofa. I was twenty eight years old.)
This means that my collection will continue to grow exponentially, and at some point I will need to find additional space to store my PRECIOUS THINGS.
I've been following Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx on Instagram as he prepares for their arena tour with Def Leppard, he's been digging all this 'stuff' out of his palatial lock-up. Nick Cave allegedly has a curated archive in Brighton. One of my oldest Fopp mates has a gig ticket collection so breathtaking I cry every time he takes a snap of it.
I also know people who try and implement a one in one out regime with their collection, so that their collection becomes almost a living and breathing thing, shaving unwanted records and stuff to make way for new, er, growth. I did try this approach during the years when I was moving around a lot with work, but ultimately I think I'm more of hirsute kinda guy, happiest when my, er, growth is sprouting above my waistline...
Which revolting metaphor brings me not so neatly onto Record Store Day and the sheer volume of records that make the cut every year. Now in this regard, I'm a quality over quantity kinda guy (aaaargh please make it stop -ed) and especially this year (with the pressing plants at maximum capacity and back log of 6/8/12 months depending who you talk to) I think the organizers should have reduced the number of releases.
I've always taken a socialists view of ordering RSD stuff. No, I don't borrow someone else's money to buy it. But I do make sure I'm not being greedy. Or unrealistic - I reckon I select between a third and a quarter (what's that, a fifth? -confused ed) of the titles available. Even so, that's a significant number of titles and the fact is, there isn't a participating shop in the World who will sell out of every RSD title they've brought in just one day. Heck, today I finally sold last year's Menswear RSD release.
So I think in RSD's case, less might actually mean more. And I'd like to see other formats, not just records. Books, tapes, CDs, merch. Genuinely collectable stuff too, not just an alternative version of something that's going to get released cheaper, and later, in the year.
And when I think about collecting records and stuff, I do wonder, even with something so subjective, how many of the RSD releases are genuinely collectable and desirable?
After every RSD there's a post-RSD event for the participating shops and distributors and labels. The last one I attended, in Bristol, was notable for a few things:
1. The gossip surrounding my online falling out with another shop owner.
2. Me not so much mentioning as launching the elephant in the room - Brexit - into the proceedings and my subsequent severing of business relations with one particular distributor who arrogantly claimed Brexit wouldn't have any impact whatsoever on the British economy and the record industry in particular
3. The industry pushing a futuristic format called Compact Dick. Or maybe it was Disc?
Anyway, whilst all of the above may preclude me from being welcome at the next post-RSD event, I'd very much like to read The Customers thoughts on such things, with the caveat that yes, I know a lot of people who shop in LFD throughout the year and who avoid RSD like the, er, plague, but I don't want to hear how crap they think it is. I'd like to hear from the people who DO like RSD and what they think of the amount of releases, whether they would like to see other formats, etc etc. Play nice.