Yesterday the Record Store Day was celebrated worldwide. Many events, live performances, special and limited editions of classic albums released on vinyl, discounts…were planned.
I’ve been spending this week in my hometown Zaragoza, right before starting my new job at the former company I was working for one year ago, and even though I already knew the options were quite limited, the Record Store Day was really frustrating there.
When you don’t live in a city you might be updated by friends about openings and closings of bars, shops, venues…and it’s easy for you to hear about events and remarkable stuff, because they seldom happen, so there’s some king of enthusiasm involved. You get an idea about what’s going on, but then when eventually you face the ugly truth, you feel devastated.
The situation is the following: all small shops have disappeared, killed by these megastores with music area (hard rock/metal zone is a bad taste joke) which have the best offers on selected items, the prices of first hand vinyl albums is outrageous and this reconverted second hand shop which only sells rubbish nobody wants. From time to time you can find some interesting bargain, but usually it’s plenty of trash.
I could buy two second hand CDs yesterday, something symbolic, and even though you won’t believe it, it wasn’t that easy. It really hurts me a lot, because I love buying music, in physical formats, and it’s getting harder and harder. If shopping is not encouraged lowering prices and selling good quality in second hand stuff, people won’t consume and stores will be gradually disappearing.
New generations don’t know the amazing pleasure of digging trays for hours, getting your hands dirty in dust, till you find THAT album, your treasure, and you get truly excited and cheerful because you’ll carry it home for good. Awesome feeling!
I reckon visiting record stores is something cultural not everyone feels like doing. It’s a ritual to me, especially in cities abroad. I need to see the stores, usually nicer than the Spanish ones, packed with stuff, following different patterns of organization and display. They’re part of the cities and have souls. One day I’ll recover some of the coolest I’ve ever visited.
Someone brought Felix to my memories and made me smile. He was the best record seller I’ve ever met. Cool guy, middle age, attractive, tall, self confident, he adored music and appreciated customers’ taste by commenting the stuff you were purchasing, if he considered it was worth buying, of course, which made us quite proud of ourselves when we were kids and this happened. He used to be the manager of a record store, Linacero Gran Via, quite close to my granny’s, so, when I managed to save enough money to buy a CD or a vinyl, I was visiting Felix eager to find a new treasure for my collection. I was so skint it was as often as I liked but definitely visiting my local record store was a great pleasure.
Unfortunately since these big malls started working, even though they reckon the sellers or advisors are genuine experts, at the end of the day you mostly find unqualified people, quite ignorant. The seller-customer relationship does no longer exist.
Aaah! I miss the good ol’ times!