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RSD Countdown Day 4


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 four's steaming pile of japery, kinghell boring bullshit and contentious nonsense...
The Hole Story...(Bad) Habits...and A New Hope
In 2014, somewhere along the M54 between Walsall and Birmingham, I stopped the car in a side road to do a BIG SICK. Blundering through brambles and ditches filled with Black Country soup and soggy porn rags ('I'll fish them out later') I stumbled upon a massive hole in the ground. No, it wasn't West Brom, it was a disused subterranean tank of some sort. 'One hole is as good as another' I thought, and after hurling my spleen into the gaping blackness, I stooped a moment to gather my wits. A good fifteen or twenty seconds passed by when suddenly I heard American singer Tom Waits growling in the hole below. The American singer Tom Waits shouted, 'Moooooommmm!!!! Mooooom! Help....meeeeee! Aw meeeeee! Mooooooooommmm Aaaaaaiiiiiieeeee!!!'.
I was mystified why - and indeed how on earth - had the American singer Tom Waits found himself in a disused underground tank on a back road in the Midlands. Luckily I had phone service and I scrolled through my gig guide. Nope - Tom Waits hadn't played at the Symphony Hall then got lost on his way back to the tour bus. I checked the archived gigs for the last ten years. It would at least explain the paucity of new songs. Nope, nothing. Then I heard the American singer Tom Waits switch his mobile phone on. I thought, 'why doesn't the saft git phone for hel-' when it dawned on me that it wasn't the American singer Tom Waits at the bottom of the hole at all! It was me! My projectile vomit had been thrown - audibly at least (thank Christ) - right back in my face.
At this point I'll admit I was really disappointed that is wasn't the American singer Tom Waits down in the hole. I'd already formulated plans to keep the American singer Tom Waits fed and watered ON TAP and I'd even decided how his name would look on the Skiddle tickets...
Anyway. I quickly got over my disappointment and made some of the whooping noises we all make whenever we're confronted with a big dank hole. The whoops came back at me and we whooped back and forth some more. Then my phone pinged with some bad news. I don't recall what it was exactly. Here's why: I shouted my anger down at the hole. Moments later my anger came back up the hole, only sounding less angry. I shouted some other angry stuff down the hole. Same thing happened: less angry stuff came back. And weirdly, I couldn't remember what I was angry about. I had been...D -ANGERED...
Ever since then, I've been making occasional trips to my back road hole in the ground. I take a load of unwanted angry stuff and get rid of it down the hole. A bit like going to the tip, but without the blokes lounging in deckchairs looking to snaffle what I've thrown away.
I'm scheduled for a session at the hole next week, and seeing as how I'm writing this here daily blag I decided to share, pull up your deckchairs...
We all know that, because of the internet, shopping habits have changed. And by 'changed' what we really mean is that less people are visiting bricks and mortar shops. And we know this because people from the telly tell us in serious voices. All the time.
We also remind ourselves and each other whenever we buy something online. In fact we'll brag to each other about how cheap we got it, and also moan that it took so long to arrive.
What I find puzzling STROKE infuriating is that despite the declining footfall and the prevalence of online shopping, AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF SUCH THINGS, some people think that bricks and mortar shops should behave as if nothing as changed. Y'know, open at dawn and close at tea time, fifty staff on the tills, never ending shelves filled with EVERYTHING...
The sad irony of course is that it is the shops that have tried to maintain their pre-internet equilibrium that have all fallen in the ditch and died; football stadium-sized department stores languishing on high streets, shopping malls littered with brand names from the nineties who couldn't pay exorbitant rents on their portfolio...left (ahem) for dead...
I open when I open and I close when I close not because I'm a lazy tw*t (although I do believe the work/life balance is sorely neglected in so much of what we do), but because there simply isn't the demand on the street to open the hours that we used to.
Bricks and mortar shops have to adapt to survive, and this means that those customers expecting shops to be open at 9 am and closing at 6pm must also adapt if they want their bricks and mortar shops to survive, especially in the wake of the recent energy price increases.
And I THINK they do. The resurgent interest in high street shopping post-lockdown was amazing; people perhaps appreciating what they couldn't have during lockdown. But now they also have to be realistic. Shops (at least the good ones) want to give the customers what they want. But there has to be understanding too: contrary to some, I don't make records in my garage. I buy them from the record distributors. And I buy them with the money I make from selling other records I bought from, yep, the record distributors. If you buy something in the shop, most of that money goes back into buying records (and paying the rent etc etc). If you don't buy anything in the shop and then rock up on RSD expecting never ending shelves of stuff??? What's that saying, record shops are for life, not just for Record Store Day......DOWN THE HOLE DOWN THE HOLE DOWN THE HOLE......

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