As you’re no doubt more than aware, today is Record Store Day. Historically, I’ve avoided them like the plague. Bloody tourists, etc.
But just this once, I thought I’d show my face. Skip the crowds and go late, of course, but make a special trip into Polar Bear Records, my local. Solidarity and all that.
Just to have a browse, you understand – not to buy any of the hundreds of limited edition (i.e.: expensive) vinyl releases and numbered reissues out today for the people who go to record stores once a year and the eBay speculators.
Bumped into friends there, which was nice – though unfortunately, they were digging for more or less the same stuff I was after, and so the bargains they found were ones I’d missed – and vice versa. But the good thing was that it’s mostly bargains for me these days.
I’ve been on a bit of a binge lately. After finding a whole pile of late 90s, early 2000s electronic jazz stuff in the 50p bins, I’ve been re-exploring that territory, poking around on Discogs to fill some of the gaps – and there are many – in my collection. I have a particular affinity for that music because it’s what I used to play on the radio and I had musician friends who were heavily involved in that scene at the time.
So even before breakfast this morning, a delivery of records had arrived. A triple vinyl album, a double, and three 12″ singles. All bought online from an independent retailer, and I got change out of a tenner (plus postage).
So my lunchtime visit to Polar Bear had a mission: nothing over £1. I stuck to the same bins where I’d located those first forty or so bargains that had sent me down this particular nostalgic path, and found another thirteen absolute gems for no more than the price of a coffee and a slice of carrot cake.
In the pile, one of my favourite remixes of all time (Kaidi Tatham’s take on Fertile Ground’s ‘Spiritual War’), and even a couple of original Nat King Cole albums for good measure. You can never have too much Nat King Cole or Lou Rawls. Fact.
All fine and dandy – until Nathan at the counter asks if I’d had a look at any of the Record Store Day releases.
“No thanks – I’m totally fine.”
“There’s a couple of Miles in there…”
“I think I’m pretty good for Miles Davis vinyl,” I began, starting to remember a few serious omissions. “What have you got?”
“Well, there’s this…” he says, holding up a 180 gram, numbered mono pressing of ‘Round About Midnight, which, twenty quid later, now lives at my house.
And that’s exactly the kind of thing I was trying to avoid by not being very interested in The White Stripes.