Like A Kid In A Record Shop – My Vinyl Addiction
I would like to take you on a trip down memory lane to my first memories of visiting a record shop. I grew up listening to my older brothers Hip Hop records on the hi-fi stereo turntable we had in the room we shared.
This was in the era where you had 4 channels on the telly, Mrs McClusky was the head teacher on Grange Hill and the only form of communication I had with mates involved getting on my bike and knocking on their door. Today, the ‘yoot dem’ have probably got over 100 channels to choose from, they’ve never even heard of Grange Hill and they don’t need to get on their bikes to see their friends, they can just Facebook video call them. But thankfully one thing has remained cool over all these years, eternally trendy and collectable, in my case addictive and irresistible; vinyl.
Around the age of 12, a new sound turned up that was so world’s apart from the Beastie Boys and Run DMC that it blew my mind and I seriously got into Jungle music. It was 1994 and one day on the school field a friend passed me a Walkman with a tape inside it of DJ Phantasy playing a track called ‘Living in Darkness’ by Top Buzz. The minute I heard the tune I was transfixed, the electronic synth stabs and rolling fast drums did something inside my tiny pre-teen mind and I was hooked.
Fast forward a year and I had somehow managed to persuade my Dad, God rest his soul, through a loan secured by my Saturday job cleaning cars, to get my hands on a pair of belt-driven Turntables. I used to visit this record shop with my Dad called Fibre Optic in Leamington Spa, it was a real Alladin’s cave of Rave music situated in the basement of a cool independent clothes shop. You walked down steps to the shop on a staircase with carpeted walls which was an attempt to stifle the thumping bass sounds from escaping into the shop upstairs.
Once inside the shop, you were hit with a wall of sound and a cloud of cigarette smoke, there were two huge speakers behind the counter that made the records sound amazing. The walls were adorned with the latest releases as well as flyers for raves in clubs that I wouldn’t have a hope of getting into for years to come.
How Saturday afternoons were spent up and down the country in the UK in the 90’s!
That record shop and Fabio and Grooverider’s weekly ‘1 in the Jungle’ show on Radio One kick-started my addiction to vinyl.
The shop was run by DJ Fallout, a mainstay on the Midlands rave scene and I think she thought it was quite endearing that I used to turn up with my Dad, barely able to see over the counter to spend usually £5 at a time on one 12” single! My Dad used to relish the experience too, the sign behind the counter that read ‘Shoplifters will be kicked to death’ and the range of characters that you used to come across would have probably scared most parents off but my Dad was cool and he knew how much I was into the music.
The buzz of walking down those steps to discover what was on the racks of that record shop has never left me.
There is just so much more to enjoy about records in comparison to their digital counterparts, you get to rip off the cellophane of a physical product, read the liner notes or the etchings on the run-out groove, look at the artwork and put the record in the collection on your shelf. I definitely think that the modern way of collecting music in a digital format is cold and has no soul, but it’s not all bad for the millennial generation.
Thanks to The Hype and Tot Rockin’ Beats our two-year-old daughter has already shared the experience of raving with Mummy and Daddy and she’s acted as my unofficial roadie, supporting my sets by owning the dance floor with her toddler moves at every gig. Growing up with Daddy as a DJ she kind of hasn’t got any choice but to be surrounded by music and I just can’t wait until the day when we can visit a record shop to make her first vinyl purchase.
I see it as a rite of passage, a journey of discovery into the magic of music on vinyl.
I see Rarekind Records in Brighton and the fantastic shows on Brighton station 1BTN FM as our kid’s doorway to the magical world of music and record collecting; a modern day version of my early experiences that I just can’t wait to pass on.
Now I’m off to dig out some memories in my record box; until next time Hypster’s…
Feature Image: Flickr.com