My Annual Tradition? Record Store Tomorrow
Saturdays are the best. Not a weekend passes without a visit to my local record store. I walk in, say hi to the guys and eavesdrop while they patiently explain to this week's frustrated record seller that no, your dad's copy of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors is not, like, really rare and valuable.
While I'm pretending not to listen, I check out what's new on the wall behind the counter. This is where the rare stuff is kept -- the white label promos, bootlegs, out of print treasures and cover variants. The conversation is great, but finding a treasure is even better.
From there I'm off to the table next to the counter, where the recently purchased but not yet filed albums are stacked. I make my way through the stacks of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors that are, like, really rare and valuable but priced around a buck each. I'm not really looking for anything in particular, just any nugget that catches my eye. Maybe I'll even get lucky and find a copy of Nuggets among the nuggets.
After that I'm into the bins, checking my regular list of artists to see if anything new has come in since last Saturday, and then it's home to listen to my new treasures. That's me, every Saturday, rain or shine.
One Saturday per year, a swarm of locusts descends upon my record store. There's no room to navigate between the bins, no space at the "just arrived" table. Among the invading army stand the curious, the devoted ... and the scalpers. They're here for Record Store Day, and my happy place is gone.
I'm thrilled they come -- really, I am. When the sun sets on this annual ritual, my record store buddies lock the front doors and perform Scrooge McDuck swan dives off of the counter into heaping piles of cash. (Okay, they really just tally up a bunch of debit and credit card receipts, but come on. Work with me here.) Not only do they do well on that day, but they make new friends and customers, people who will be back soon to sell their dads' copies of Rumors. Everybody wins on Record Store Day.
I've tried to do it, I really have. I want to dive into the middle of Record Store Day like the vinyl hound that I am. I've screwed my courage to the sticking place, girded my loins, conjugated my verbs and done whatever else I could to prepare for the feeding frenzy. I've even tried cranking my headphones to create my own little private bubble in the middle of the stampede, but I still freak out in the presence of that enormous crowd.
Nothing works. The promise of Elliott Smith demos is no match for my social anxiety and need for routine. I simply can't cope with all of those people in my space, disrupting my established path around the store. Even the realization that it's not my space does nothing to alleviate my panic.
This is why I leave Record Store Day to the curious, devoted and the scalpers. While they duke it out over the last copy of Get Behind Me Satan, I'll be thumbing through the bins of the nearby charity shop, feeding my obsession for really bad album covers.
Don't misunderstand: I not only support Record Store Day, but I support Record Store Day. I just do it the next day, when the savages are gone and my happy place is quiet again, save for whatever song is playing on the turntable.
On that day I add an extra stop to my record store routine: the bin of Record Store Day leftovers. I may miss that sweet, limited edition copy of Bowie's "Changes," but that's okay. There are still plenty of nuggets left in the bin, and my buddies behind the counter have lots of stories to tell me about the previous day's chaos. Who doesn't love a good story?
Besides, why should Record Store Day only come once per year? Why not have my own private Record Store Tomorrow? Shouldn't we honor it all year round in our hearts? It's the spirit of the day and bah humbug and all that stuff. You, boy! Do you know if they've sold the prize box set hanging in the window? God bless us, everyone.
I'm a little nervous sharing with you my low stress Record Store Tomorrow strategy. Next thing you know Sunday is overrun with the curious and the devoted, too, and where will that leave me?
Probably at a charity shop, sifting through copies of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors that are, like, really rare and valuable.