Record Store Day

Records Store Day and blue skies, so it’s the bike all the way to Brick Lane to see what’s happening at Rough Trade East.
And it’s happening. A queue 30 minutes long snakes past the Japanese fast food stand and Big Chill Bar, disappearing round the corner. Nobody seems to know what we’re queuing for but queuing we are.

Near the front earnest looking men and women examine their purchases, drawing prized new possessions from their white plastic bags, vinyl mostly, shrink-wrapped and shiny albums by Neu and Caribou; sweet 7”s by Foals and Paul Weller.

Inside bands play and entertain the throngs, flicking through the racks like it’s the 20th century again. People smile and mingle and jostle for position at the listening stations; the truly faithful take up their positions stage-front for the next show. There is a faint festival atmosphere, a unity, we’re all here because we love music, proper music, not the stuff of Magic and Heart, real music with soul, or noise, or edge, or passion, or all of those mashed together in a whole new way. Music that makes us go wow, I’m so glad to be alive today, I’m so glad to be able to be here listening to this.

So I queue, and for once don’t really mind, I try to shoot the queue but fail, I mingle, pick up a couple of CDs and head home via Pure Groove. A record shop that isn’t really a record shop anymore. It’s a cafe and a bar and a live music space that sells CDs and vinyl too. And it’s packed, the drinkers spill out into the sunlight, occupying the far side of the road by the market. Inside there’s a Blur quiz with DVDs and CDs as prizes.

And it all makes me feel optimistic again. And it makes me feel that it is all worth it, this creative life, there is still a way to make and do and sell a bit and get by. There are still thousands of people passionate about what they listen to and interested in what it means and keen to share that interest, that love, that passion with the world.

There are record shops that still work, they just have to adapt to survive. Everything is always changing and our little musical world is no different from any other business. We have to find new ways to enjoy what we do and make it work. Record Store Day is one little way to do that.