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 Twenty Eight of this steaming pile of japery, kinghell boring bullshit and contentious nonsense...
I think that it is important that we thank the customers who support the indies throughout the year; one of the ironies of RSD is that many of the people visiting record shops on RSD probably won't set foot in a record shop for the rest of the year. Their money is as good as anyone else's but it's tough when regular customers can't get into the shop on the day and miss out something they desperately want.
But RSD issues aside, and despite appearances to the contrary, I genuinely enjoy the company of all the people SHOPPING in my gaff. I mean, if I didn't, I'd just pack the HUMAN THING in and go all Elon Musk or something, right?
But it's not always peachy keen behind the counter in a record shop (and this goes for any retailer), and on (thankfully) rare occasions it can be a lot more guns than roses. *Adopt Denis Norden voice*: Here's a few savoury moments when I'd rather have been elsewhere:
1. "More slop floor than shop floor, mate" #1: In the very first HMV in Telford there was nook at the back of the shop which led to the door to the basement. We also kept the Liquid Gold porn, Police Stop! and steam engine videos there. It was basically the internet on VHS. Anyway, a bloke came in late one afternoon and took a huge dump in the nook. Hazmat suits weren't part of the Best Practice guidelines, so we tackled the sizeable scat using a VHS case like a pair of tweezers. The VHS case was sleeveless so the hermetically sealed excreta looked like a relic from a Stanley Kubrick movie as we chased each other around the shop floor screaming like school girls playing 'shit on a stick'.
2. 'Needle boys in the Park...rotten cops after dark': Park Street Bristol could get a bit Wild West back in the day, and shop lifters were a real problem. That opening chase scene in Trainspotting? We recreated that at least once a week. Except when they turned up in a car, parked it kerbside with the engine running and did an Ex Presidents on our chart wall. We caught a guy on CCTV stuffing DVD box sets down his trousers, up his jumper - he probably swallowed a couple of Deadwoods too - and we stopped him before he could leave the shop; it was almost closing time, 6pm and I didn't want to hang around so I thought I'd cut the guy some slack - he looked like he needed some help - so I told him if he gave up all the stuff he'd nicked we'd let him leave. He denied nicking anything and so a Mexican (brown) standoff ensued. After a bit he tried to barge past us, there was some wrestling and then he pulled out a couple of syringes and threatened us. By this time the police had been called, but it took them 40 minutes to send anyone. Ironically, while the police dealt with Needle Boy, someone nicked Needle Boy's bike from outside the shop.
3. Burger Boiler: I had a stalker who worked in Burger King. After I'd been in BK for lunch, I was told she'd go through the bin, find my discarded burger wrappers and lick them. I'd be on the counter, look up, and see her watching me through the shop window. At home one night my girlfriend said, 'there's a girl standing in the bushes staring at the house'. Why couldn't she just put an ad in the Metal Hammer personals like all the others?
4. "More slop floor than shop floor, mate" #2: I'd been out to do the banking. I get back, there's a bloke lying on the shop floor looking at the DVDs. I say to my number two, 'what's that bloke doing lying on the floor looking at the DVDs?'. 'He's OK' my number 2 assures me. 'Tell him to get off the floor, he's a tripping hazard' I say. My number 2 goes over, I see him asking the bloke to stand up. The bloke is refusing to move. I go over. 'Alright mate. Look, you can't lie here, you're in the way and someone is likely to tread on you. Please get up.' I say the last bit quite firmly and he obliges, making a noise as he does so like sellotape being peeled off cardboard; the floor is grey screed and he exposes the sticky brown pool he's been lying on. In. On. I'm speechless - and suddenly haunted by the ghost of excreta past - but our vertical friend says quite cheerfully, 'Don't worry, it's only mucus'. I stare up at my number 2. 'Let this be a lesson to you. Mop up this number two right now.'