World Record Store Day

Bob Jacobs's picture

Had a day off work today, chauffeuring Mary to a training session, just outside Stroud, deep in the southern Cotswolds.  Her knees are now so bad that she can’t drive that far without severe discomfort (about 120 miles round trip).  This gave me the opportunity to spend a day doing whatever I felt like, within the constraints of space and time (her training started at 10:00am and finished at 4:00pm) and weather (we’d awoken to the thunderstorms imported from France and most of the day was swathed in low cloud and mist, which only lifted at about 3pm).  Parking near Stroud station, I wandered around town looking for a barber.  It’s a really traditional old town, close knit and rambling around the natural contours of steep hills and valleys but not a traditional barber shop in sight: none of those spiraling red and white tubes on display (how did that tradition start and finish?).  I did, however, find a place near the top of the literally accurate High Street, called “Just Hair”, which seemed to cater for hordes of kids, women and men, so I went in and was immediately granted a throne next to a little boy who determinedly sat the wrong way round on his seat and was treated with utmost consideration.  He was replaced by his slightly bigger sister, whose gorgeous long curly tresses were just too troublesome and had to be curtailed.  My thatch merely needed a good trim and the young girl with dyed blonde hair called Tash did a reasonable job, though she left a bit more of the slivery undergrowth at the back than I like.  I was succeeded by a very distinguished looking gentleman with flowing locks and grey goatee beard, who had observed the proceedings with the air of a novelist.


I spent the next quarter of an hour browsing in the sort of secondhand bookshop you only find in old market towns: sheer bliss admiring the serried ranks of obscure books on obscure subjects in all realms of this world.  Unfortunately there was a severe lack of fiction but loads of geography, history, biography, music and photography to keep me amused. Somehow, I managed to emerge purchaseless and wandered downhill to WH Smith where I got The Guardian and The Word and the wandered around a bit more before spotting Kane’s Records.


A proper record shop!  Nothing like as good as Mr Bill’s local, Boo Boo’s in San Luis Obispo but not bad for this day and age.  Of course the H section lacked any Roy or Nick.  There was a section for Ben Harper but even that was empty.  The John Martyn section was unusually well populated but of course I have them all, apart from the latest Best Of compilation, issued after his death.  What seemed like an hour’s browsing resulted in a typical Fifty Quid Man purchase: something old, something new, some things I already had in vinyl and couldn’t be bothered to convert to digital before the equipment died: Neil Young’s Fork In the Road, Marianne Faithfull’s Easy Come Easy Go, Dire Straits’ Making Movies, Ry Cooder’s Bop Till You Drop, Cat Power’s Jukebox.  When I eventually wandered up to the pay desk, the owner told me he had resisted asking me if he could help as he could tell what sort of customer I was.  He approved of my purchases (well he would, wouldn’t he?: “Nice selection”) and told me about World Record Store Day, which is this Saturday 18 April.  Along with other independent retailers around the world, he will be having a special fun day with home made cakes, limted editions for sale, free gifts, special prices and other unspecified instore events.  I mentioned that I recognised the music playing but couldn’t place it: Arcade Fire’s first album, he told me, which indeed I do have somewhere in my collection.


So, music lovers!  Boogie on down to your local record store this Saturday and celebrate its unique contribution to our society.  They may not be what they were but they’re still magical places and out towns will be sadder places without them if we let them die.


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Bob Jacobs's picture

Follow up

So this Saturday, I took Mary to Southampton to see Evita with her mum and sisters, leaving me with a free afternon to roam the historic city.  Disappointed by both The Word and Rock and Reel magazines in their lack of the usual double spread advert on trustworthy independent record retailers, I decided to see if I could find one just using my personal instincts.  Despite visiting all the malls except The Quays, some of which were virtually derelict (eg East St), so should have been prime sites for unfashionable, traditional shops, I failed to find even one.  Even a return journey along Shirley's typically seedy High St failed to locate such a shop.  So, retired pancake :-(


There used to be a  really

There used to be a  really good second hand shop in S*uth*mpton called Weasels down St. Mary's road (I think) but I believe it shut down years ago.  Not that I've been back recently to have a look.

Bob Jacobs's picture

Thanks Steve

Confirms what I thought ...


aspwatterson's picture

Reading West independent secondhand record store



There's still one in Reading [maybe more?]  but it's mainly known as a second hand guitar shop. Nice owner who has helped many a friend in the past.


Bob Jacobs's picture

Thanks Andi

I'll look out for it on one of my regular trips there.  I got caught in a horrendous traffic jam this evening and found another on the A30 in Camberley, while listening to the Cowboy Junkies doing a rap-influenced version of a John Lennon song that I remember from my distant past (something off Imagine I think).