Mastermind behind solo psychedelic project Robinson's Village and lead guitarist in Brighton-based band Chewing Gum, James Burns writes an exclusive for Smashed Vinyl about his experience on Record Store Day, 2019.
Record Store Day comes with yearly traditions that differ from enthusiast to enthusiast. Generally, it includes dragging a loved one out of the house at 5am, queuing for 4 hours and splashing a load of cash on a ridiculous number records.
As a devout vinyl collector, Record Store Day goes beyond walking out of your local record store with a couple of records. It’s the process of flicking through a huge list to find a 26th copy of your favourite album but on a lovely splattered purple vinyl and getting up early in the morning to queue for hours with other sleepy eyed collectors, each with a mutual passion for physical formats of music.
When I was living in Nottingham, I would travel to the nearby Rough Trade to carry out this ritual. However, this year, my dad travelled down to continue our lifelong RSD tradition at Resident Music in Brighton.
I woke up at around 5:30am on the 13th April and had a quick shower to wake myself up before skating down to Resident. I arrived at 6am where there was a neatly tucked queue snaking through the North Laine. My dad joined the back of queue whilst I ran off to grab us coffee from the nearby Black Mocha café who were kindly open to help all the RSD attendees tackle the tiredness.
Apparently, the queue for Resident had been there since around 11am the day before, indicating the immense level of commitment the day brings out. As soon as we arrived in the queue, staff members at Resident handed us a ticket with a number and a booklet showing the full list for Record Store Day 2019. This way, you can tick off which of the records you want to grab. I already had a list of records I was interested in:
Live In Europe
The 13th Floor Elevators
Of s t a r g a z e
Instruments (covers of Fugazi’s In On The Killtaker)
Lost In Translation
At around 7am the queue started to shorten as the staff began to let the people who had queued overnight into the shore. Shortly after, more members of staff started walking down the queue, handing out goodie bags filled with 7” records, CD’s, fliers for local businesses, posters, and a fair number of beer coasters. By the time I had flicked through the goodie bag, I was finally in the store and feeling very happy to be in the warm again. As the clock struck 8am, the staff were serving the first few people.
Each record store works differently on RSD. When I attended the event at Rough Trade in Nottingham, they let people head into the store in groups of 10-15, allowing them to grab whichever record they could. This worked well in some ways, allowing me to score Deftones' B-Sides and Rarities.
B-Side and Rarities
However, this system deprived me of getting my hands on I Started a Joke by The Faith No More and Bee Gees. Sad times indeed for 16 year old me, especially after seeing them go straight onto eBay for triple the original price (I see you, record scalping w*nkers!)
The Faith No More and Bee Gees
I Started a Joke
Brighton’s Resident has a fairer system. They give everyone in the queue a ticket with a number so that the staff know the order that people were queuing in. The ticket can be used in a raffle later on in the evening, which sadly I missed out on because, by that time, I was fast asleep and drooling in a coffee shop. Also, the stock is kept behind the counter so people have to queue up for their records. Whilst this takes slightly longer, I prefer this fairer and less chaotic system.
After a few hours of snaking around the shop, weaving in and out of the rows and rows of CDs and records of various genres, listening to the live music of The Leisure Society and then some more standing, I had finally made it to the front. I simply handed over my booklet with the records I had chosen. Ten minutes later I was heading back into the North Laines with sleep in my eyes and records in my hands.
I managed to grab The 13th Floor Elevators’ Picture Disk and Spacemen 3’s Live In Europe engraved on a lovely orange splattered vinyl. Whilst I was ready to head back home to go to sleep, my dad promptly ran to Rarekind Records to successfully grab a record or two that ran out of stock at Resident.
It’s clear from spectacles such as RSD that Vinyl isn’t a dead format. Support your local record store: I cannot be thankful enough to the team at Resident Music Brighton and Rarekind Records. And head butt your local record scalper: or ticket scalper, or just scalper of anything.