Record Store Day Follow Up

In a sense Record Store Day reminds me a little of Valentine’s Day or, to be a little more facetious, Don’t Beat Your Wife Day – yes the message is the right one, but what, only today?  What about the other 364 days of the year?

The issue of eBay scalpers is one which came back quite hard this year as well. With so many exclusives, the opportunities were rife, and everything I wanted to buy was already on eBay long before I got to the end of the hour-and-a-half-long queue at Avalanche in Edinburgh.

Thanks to extremely sensible policies by Kevin in Avalanche (a maximum of six items per person and only one copy of any one item) I did manage to get my hands on the two things I came in for (David’s Town by Fucked Up and the Twilight Sad/Frightened Rabbit demos tape, since you asked), so the simmering resentment which builds in me every time I find myself standing in a long queue was diffused and, by the end of the day after a couple of fine live performances, I ended up really enjoying myself.

The problem for me was really this: Record Store Day is a good idea, but I couldn’t help but feel a little cynical about the number of people flocking to shops for that one day and then presumably flocking back to eBay, Amazon or whatever other internet shopping destinations they prefer immediately afterwards – and I’m not criticising either, it’s something I have to confess to doing myself.

Nevertheless, when I am in shops, I do spend money.  In fact, in common with many music fans I would guess, I actually struggle not to spend money.  And with the recent boom (alright, let’s be honest, it’s more of a mini-boom) in cassette and vinyl purchases, I do feel that in amongst the Maelstrom of Infinitely Uninspiring Possibility which is the digital music revolution, there is an increasing counter-revolution amongst the music fetishists which emphasises the physicality and craft of music.

We are people.  We like buying actual shit, and talking bollocks to each other as we do so, it’s that simple.  As such, Record Store Day feels just a little like a missed opportunity.  I reckon that instead of emphasising the exclusive releases, which do so much to benefit the scalping parasites on eBay, Record Store Day should be more about events, performances, and getting people back into shops that way.

But also, maybe more importantly, a record shop should not be just for Christmas.  It occurred to me this weekend that it might be nice to take advantage of the space at the back of Avalanche to do regular tea-and-biscuits events, with the aim of getting people back into shops on a regular basis, and maybe getting people from the disparate Edinburgh scenes to actually spend a bit more time together.

We could get together once a month, on a Sunday afternoon, say, and read the new issues of Loud & Quiet or The Stool Pigeon, we could have tea and biscuits, we could get a couple of bands to play ultra-stripped-back acoustic sets, Song, by Toad Records could take the opportunity to do preview listenings of our future releases – so could anyone, in fact – and just generally make a laid back Sunday afternoon of it.  Football people do it all the time with a beer and a burger and the Sunday matches on Sky, so why can’t music people?

So what do you reckon, does this sound like a good idea?  The first Sunday of the month perhaps, from about 1pm until closing time?  I think it’s worth a go, myself, but if you think it’s shite, just say so!

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