I don’t think there is anything better than rifling through box after box of vinyl’s in search of a bargain or something by your favourite band/singer. I love finding new places to fulfill my craving, and recently I stumbled upon a gem of a place, squished between a food outlet and adult store. Upon entering, my friends and I realised we had entered our own little utopia. Everywhere you looked there was records; stacked up, on the walls, in boxes, placed on shelves and even on the floor. I had never seen so many in one place and doing so filled me with joy.
What makes record shops so wonderful is the sheer quantity of music that is held within them; most of them have row upon row of boxes, all with as many records in them as humanly possible. It doesn’t matter what you are looking for – most second hand record shops will somehow have it. The ones I shop at have everything from thrash metal, to northern soul, to new wave, to reggae etc. The eclectic range of music stocked in them means that even if you have no intention to buy anything, just going into one and browsing is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. My friends and I spend inordinate amounts of time within the walls of these shops and never get bored.
The thing I love most about shopping for records is the smell, like with old books; records seem to take on a particular smell once they get old. As soon as you near a box of them it hits you and I find great comfort in it — it’s as though the smell is aromatic nicotine. I just can’t get enough (something my bank balance does not appreciate), I’d even go so far as to say that my record player is one of my most prized possessions. Although sometimes I buy my records from online retailers — as they are great for getting something specific and fast — I will never turn my back on these shops. Personally, I feel these sorts of shops are important for music and music history, and I hope they stay around for as long as humanly possible. I also hope that younger people continue to discover records and listening to music on them as it is a really special thing. To be able to sit back and think, “I’m listening to something that was made 30 odd years ago,” is not only amazing, but it’s truly a privilege. Thank god there were people out there who took such care of their records, that in 2015 they still play perfectly!
For a nostalgia-lover like myself, records are the perfect way to temporarily go back in time and temporarily check out. When I enter the world of a particularly good record, I can shrug off whatever is stressing me out and focus all my attention on the music. Plus, these shops – no matter where — always tend to trend towards a calming atmosphere; there is no bustling, no shoving, and no having to try and peer around other people to get a look at something. It’s as though there is an unspoken rule of chillness. This just adds to their appeal — for someone who gets stressed out super easily it is great to be able to go somewhere and inhale these calming vibes.
I am lucky enough to live in a city that has an abundance of record shops, which makes life just a little bit better. Whenever I have a bit of free time, that’s where I’ll probably be; be it with my friends or on my own, perusing the fantastic music that sits within their walls and adding to my ever growing collection of vinyl’s.
So thank you, record shops. Thank you for adding that special something into our collective music experience.