this year's Record Store Day is just around the corner. Now I quite like the idea of RSD, unfortunately, like Emerson Lake and Palmer or the Sony Discman, the theory is much better than the reality.
I've only 'done' RSD once, two years ago. Unless you're wont to get out of bed at stupid o'clock in the morning on a Saturday then I really wouldn't bother going. I can guarantee that by the time you get there, whatever you've gone for will be gone. When I went to a participating RSD shop back in 2013 the only thing I went for had been sold out for ages. The handy thing was, that when I was standing in line, I had two studenty types behind me who couldn't wait to get in there and buy, ugh,'vinyls'. I got there at around midday and certainly didn't expect to queue to get in when I arrived. So what happens then? Well, you just buy something. Anything so that you don't feel that you've had a wasted journey. I came home with, amongst other things, a Frankie Goes to Hollywood picture single. It's a nice thing to have but it's hardly essential.
Last year I saw the author of Last Shop Standing, Graham Jones, give a talk on record shops. This came a few weeks after RSD 2014. When he took questions from the floor he was asked what could make RSD better. He came up with a number of ideas to improve the RSD experience for everyone. He suggested that the organisers were considering limiting official RSD releases to new music only. Or introducing a loyalty card scheme so that regular independent record shop customers could get first dibs on RSD by getting four stamps on their card over the previous year. None of these ideas have been implemented. So this year there are well over 500 official RSD releases. I've had a look at the list and there's absolutely nothing I'm desperate for. So yet again we will see people queueing outside Piccadilly Records in Manchester before it's even closed the day before. And for what? A few 7" singles that you didn't really want because the David Bowie picture disc you went in for sold out at 8:30, while you were still parking the car. I realise that RSD is important for independent record shops in their constant struggle to survive against downloads, online stores and supermarkets but against the backdrop of me supporting independent music stores throughout the rest of the year and tales of an unscrupulous retailer reserving stock for favoured customers means that on April 18th I'll stay snuggled in bed for as long as I please.