As Record Store Day has vinyl lovers across the country hitting the streets bright and early, Getintothis’ Lewis Ridley was in amongst the action in Liverpool’s RSD hot spots.
Music lovers mostly operate in darkness, we dance into the night in underground venues and are rarely seen as early as we are on Record Store Day, at least not out of choice.
It’s the day that pulls vinyl lovers out of bed year on year, this being the eleventh, and Liverpool is no different.
Queues formed outside of the city’s record shops well before Saturday’s shoppers have had the chance to trudge round Primark in search of, well, nothing really. Here though, these people are soul-set on RSD releases.
Of course, not all vinyl lovers buy into this one day record store pilgrimage, and in each town across the country there will no doubt be negative mumbling when it is mentioned. Nevertheless, anything that has Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody and me meeting for coffee at 7am must be good.
The day begins, after fuelling up at Costa Coffee, outside what is seemingly Liverpool’s go-to record shop, Probe Records. There’s one gentlemen, rather glumly perched on a camping chair, he’s been here since 2am, the longest wait of which we’ll hear all day.
More enthusiastic are some familiar faces, or one to begin with. Jack from Deja Vega, he’s been here for over 3 hours already, it’s yet to strike 7.30am.
“Serge Gainsbourg is probably my number one,” he says, “Then the S U R V I V A L LP, that’s the music from Stranger Things.”
While we’re talking, Mike arrives with McDonalds breakfast in hand, they discuss potentially trying for RSD releases on eBay later today.
A gazebo catches the eye walking down Slater Street, before the smell of a barbecue. The Jacaranda are treating their customers this Record Store Day. Tom and Fay are two of those, clutching breakfast hot off the grill.
Next to them, Matt and Nicholas, the former desperately wants Arcade Fire while the latter doesn’t really know: “Matt text me and said did I want to come along, and I didn’t really know what it was, I said yes anyway but when I got the text saying we would be going at 6am, I couldn’t believe it!”
Well done Nicholas, you’re a good mate.
Liam is one further back, he’s after The Courteeners too, the re-press of their debut album, St. Jude. It’s a popular choice, Gayle from Warrington is one of our happiest to chat to yet: “Madness, Undertones, Jake Bugg, Courteeners, Bowie, Streets.”
While Kiera simply puts it: “I NEED The Courteeners.” She tells us there’s apparently 200 copies in Manchester’s Piccadilly Records, while Liverpool clutches at just a handful.
Like many, Gayle has a special agent across town in another queue, like clockwork, couples and mates across the country will be finding the best way to get their hands on that special release.
Lone wolf Shahad tells us about his picks, one being the 3D covered Rolling Stones‘ Satanic Majesties release: “That’s priority, then Bowie stuff too.”
He explains his choice of shop: “Last year I was at Probe, and someone took Bowie‘s release from my grasp. I looked online and The Jac looked best. It’s a great atmosphere here as well.”
Seafoam Green is playing outside, and selling LPs too.
As doors prepare to open in 3 main haunts, we head to 3B Records. The record shop was excluded from RSD this year, a move that disappointed many in the city. They revealed a responsive documentary in the week, which Alex says has gone well: “Yeah, it’s had a lot of shares, I think people are understanding what we’re getting at. But obviously regardless we’re encouraging everyone to support the other stores.”
— Jacaranda Records Store (@jacrecordsstore) April 21, 2018
Back at Probe, the faces we first saw at the start of the day are smiling, some have time to enjoy their purchases while others, such as Jack and Mike head off quickly for the next store. Meanwhile, the queue outside lengthens.
At The Jacaranda, Tom and Fay are two of many happy customers. Big smiles indicate they’ve been successful, apart from one: “I panicked! So I didn’t get PiL.”
Tom was equally flustered: “That’s worse than buying tickets, that, honestly the most stressful experience of my life.”
Out come Liam and Shahad, the former has been successful and also grabbed a Sherlocks single. Shahad is also chuffed: “It’s cheaper than I expected to be honest, I think it’s pretty good. I got Bowie, The Stones and Marvin Gaye. Let’s Get It On, that’s a brilliant album, that.”
To 81 Renshaw, and who do we spy, Gayle! She’s added Snow Patrol and Fatboy Slim to her collection, and some of the others she was after, but now it’s her other half’s job to come up with the goods. Some time later, they emerge from the shop with The Streets‘ release and that elusive Madness record.
One fella, who’s been partially successful, reflects on the day: “I’ve just seen there, £60 on eBay for the other one I wanted. It’s wrong that.”
I compare it to ticket touting, he agrees: “Exactly, it’s just not right, or fair. But what can you do?” The debate continues on both fronts, and about RSD in general, but it’s unfair to criticise something that so many feel so passionately about, something that has people queuing round the block, and being genuinely excited about the prospect of getting that limited edition picture disc.
A staff t-shirt outside 81 Renshaw, branded by Record Store Day, says: “Every day is Record Store Day”.
That’s certainly the case down in Dig Vinyl, our last stop, where Yvonne and Andy tell us about what is still one of the busiest days of the year: “It’s about supporting each other, we’ve done it before but we’ve decided not to now, we get a lot of people in asking in the days leading up to it but we just encourage them to head to the other shops in town. That’s what it’s all about, really.”
Record Store Day continues in Liverpool and the UK today, there’s still plenty time to head down to support your local record stores!
Images by Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody