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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Record Store Day: closed for business

All the chatter about Record Store Day last weekend left me bemused. Record store day? Apart from the fact they're called record shops in Britain (the UK hasn't yet become a franchised part of the USA), the tawdry tokenism of a day had an infantile feel. Cheap PR. Standard, tired-out tricks to try to make people do the same thing at the same time - consume, "support", "participate", "get involved" (gulp).

Amongst all the - slightly forced? - excitement from punters on places like the Guardian comment thread or the official RSD site, there was, thankfully, the odd dissenting voice. One person heavily into (good) music who I follow on Twitter said the event "left him cold", though interestingly he still felt it necessary to wish everyone involved "good luck". It was as if disparaging the event meant you were opposed to small independent record shops and somehow ... er, anti-music. "Hey, what are you? A fan of EMI or something? A corporate fascist? You probably don't even like home-made cupcakes ...?"

No, the fake bonhomie and confected community spirit set my teeth on edge (just like those over-sweet cupcakes). If I want to go to a record shop (which I normally don't) I'll go at the time of my own choosing, not because it's the done thing and the appointed day. OK, it was good that a few shops organised live entertainment that Saturday afternoon - but they should do it every weekend, not just on bloody RSD.

Anyway, I'll leave you with a link to this pretty amusing list of questions reflecting the idiocy of many people who go into record shops. They're from an unidentified person ("MFV1037", at 11:49) who apparently used to go to a record shop in Ilkeston which had pinned up some of the more ... er, odd enquiries from customers. As a former employee in the salt mines of record retailing (HMV), I can certainly identify with some of the requests. Apart from excellent questions like "Do you sell sellotape?", my favourite from his list is: CAN I ORDER A CD YES BUT YOU NEED A DEPOSIT (is 15p ok?) ....

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