Every year, the most rabid of vinyl collectors impatiently wait for the official Record Store Day list of releases to be posted so they can start crafting their plan of attack.
But many know that heading out to the record shops with a grocery list is truly a fool’s errand. You never know what you’re going to walk out of the store with.
What am I talking about? Oh, a twice yearly celebration of vinyl (and even cassettes. Cassettes!) of course. Apparently they call it Record Store Day.
Now in its 12th year of madness, RSD is an annual event inaugurated in 2008 and held on one Saturday every April and every Black Friday in November to “celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store”, apparently. The day brings together fans, collectors, anoraks and artists — and thousands of independent record stores — across the world, so they say.
A number of records are pressed specifically for Record Store Day, with a list of releases for each country, and are only distributed to shops participating in the event.
Each record store likes to celebrate Record Store Day in their own way, and some prefer not to participate at all. Not every record shop will carry releases from the official Record Store Day list, while others prefer to unload a large collection of records stockpiled just for the occasion.
It kind of begs the inevitable question. How many records bought on Record Store Day were re-sold on Record Store Night?
That this is a legitimate question for grumpy old men is one of the ironies of RSD. Designed to attract footfall into bricks ‘n’ mortar music emporia, this silly event that encourages over-enthusiastic fans of fandom to become even more obsessive, has become instead a frenzy for internet quick-flippers eager to prey on the greedy and stupid.
While this may not be 100% true, I still wonder who among those punters standing in the hour-long queue at, say, Spun Out in Northampton*, were legitimate, regular patrons and how many were simply scrabbling to grab as much product as possible, like crazed Christmas parents beating each other over the head at Hamleys to secure Cabbage Patch Dolls or Teletubbies.
It’s this crazed rabidity, this rabble-led avariciousness that I find so unattractive, so unhealthy. Raw capitalism, market forces, supply and demand, blah, blah, blah.
Now at least one vinyltard know subsidises his high-priced RSD purchases by over-buying and selling on the excess. As a cheapskate, this makes a bit more sense to me, despite reservations; I do something similar with my second-hand shopping, just at a far, far slimmer profit margin.
It’s possible, likely even, that some people in that line get a buzz from the experience, but it’s not for me. I can’t be bothered. I haven’t ever gone to a record store on RSD and I’m kind of unlikely to, not having actually bought vinyl since the heady days of 1986**.
So I leave you to your jive-ass, snap-crackle-and-pop many-times re-re-re-re-re-re-reissued David Bowie clobber, your over-priced Prince albums and your (seriously?) Madonna singles; I’ll be celebrating Record Store Day the rest of the year when there aren’t so many people getting in my bloody way.
I did a quick check online and there were no participating RSD retailers in Milton Keynes, the Buckinghamshire town where I spent my school and college years (and bought my first vinyl). Alas, Northampton isn’t far away (not far enough, some uncharitable folk might say). Incidentally, my trusty where-would-I-be-without-it diary suggests the final albums I bought were The Best of the Doors (1985) and the Bowie-dominated original film soundtrack albums to Absolute Beginners and Labyrinth (both 1986). Yup.
A whole week after RSD there were plenty of stock of so-called 2019 exclusives at Title in Sydney’s Crown Street. Bah, humbug