Radio 2 and the vinyl-buying experience

Another morning of domiciliary visits at work provided another morning’s listening to Radio 2, and Ken Bruce in particular. Since the demise of Popmaster, effectively removed from the show following the BBC Phone-in Competition Shenanigans, Ken Bruce is barely worth listening to. As a decade, the 80s hold a certain number of fond musical memories for me, but there was undeniably a large volume of musical tat produced during that period, and Ken Bruce manages to dredge up most of it up. He finds some from other decades as well of course, but seems to prefer his tat to be 80s vintage.

I mused on this as he played a Johnny Hates Jazz song without any apparent shame. I once owned a Johnny Hates Jazz album, and am thoroughly ashamed of it. In fact, lots of my early musical purchases are now an embarrassment. Is it just me? The first record in particular. Every time I hear someone on the radio naming the first record they bought, it’s always something by the Beatles, the Stones, Joni Mitchell. Some GREAT song or album that’s endured, or if not then something obscure and therefore by definition ‘cool’. I have my suspicions that they might be making it up. I’ve never heard anyone confessing to buying a tacky one-hit wonder as their first record.

I spent one penny short of 2 Irish punts on my first record – “My toot toot” by Denise LaSalle – in a Golden Discs outlet in a Dun Laoghaire shopping centre. The Golden Discs has probably gone, and the shopping centre is now likely a mall, where people spend their Euro-subsidised euros instead. But they’re not spending it on Denise LaSalle records, or even CDs for that matter. A classic one-hit wonder, except that it wasn’t a classic, and might not even have been a hit, I can’t quite remember.

But I still have the record. It still has the branded price sticker on it, so I daresay you think I read that information off it. But that’s the thing about records for me. I didn’t need to. Buying a record was an event, and a full-size LP, or even a 12” single, provided you with something distinctly tangible for your cash.

Buying a CD has never been the same experience, although even that beats downloading music digitally. Nothing could be more soulless. Browsing through my collection of records sparks memories of where and when they were bought – an Extreme box set from Ripping Records on South Bridge during my student days, a classic Ten Sharp 12” single from a now-forgotten record shop on Great Junction Street, another single from somewhere in North Berwick while on holiday. Lots from Makin’ Tracks in Belfast. A Black Crowes picture disc from Caroline Music in Newry. Most of my vinyl collection bought ‘currently’ – rather than long afterwards from a second-hand record shop – consists of 12” singles rather than LPs. Sadly, even way back in my youth vinyl was dying out. Cassettes were by then the medium of choice for albums. The first album I bought (in another Golden Discs as it happens) was on cassette. It was Curiosity Killed The Cat. No idea what the album title was. It was terrible, but I managed to flog it to a future girlfriend.

I’m resigning myself to the sad fact that the days of significant musical purchases are slipping away in the face of a relentless digital onslaught. Perhaps even the days of the CD are ultimately numbered. The experience will be missed, but maybe I shouldn’t grieve too much. Downloading music can be a very useful option, and burning tracks on to a vinyl-effect CD-R does minimise the pain somewhat… Time moves on remorselessly, and as if to underline the fact, I went to work yesterday without my belt on and my trousers stayed up all by themselves.

Ah, the onset of old age and rotundity. Pass me my slippers and rose-tinted spectacles…

9 thoughts on “Radio 2 and the vinyl-buying experience”

  1. it’s a shame you’ve already called yourself an old man… I was looking forward to mocking you whilst reading this post but you’ve done it all by yourself! 😀

  2. Denial is often a good strategy for dealing with such discoveries. In this case, buy some bigger trousers (cutting off the size label)and then try to go work without your belt. Young again 🙂

    On second thoughts, condsidering the nature of your customer group…

  3. Or take the belt – you can be quietly satisfied with your ‘youthfulness’ rather than advertising it memorably.

    PS never thought we’d hear you mourning the age of digital development – have you had another guest entry?

  4. Wear a pair of trousers a size bigger without a belt on??? Oh the customers would have a heart attack should the trousers accidentally fall down! Well, they would if they saw the same pants that I’ve seen on ‘display’ on his radiators…*Giggles!*

  5. I can’t help but feel that the sooner the chat moves away from Andrew’s underwear the better it will be for everyone!

    I’ve always found the subject of first record/cd bought an amusing one. Sadly, my only experience of vinyl is from reading about it in history books, I’m much too young for such things. My first cd single isn’t too embarrassing I think – Earthsong by Michael Jackson. Not really super cool either.
    My first couple of albums, however, weren’t great. Having asked for a cd player and cds for christmas I was greeted that happy morn by a compilation album called “All Women” and the Spice Girls album. Looking back I can’t help but wonder if my relatives confused me for my sister!!

    So come on everyone. Fess up. I’m sure mine can’t be the most mortifying out there. At least no-one’s heard of yours Andrew.

    P.S. Radio 2 rules. I’m a TYG.

  6. My first single was Barbie Girl by Aqua – what a great song!
    I think my first album may also have been the spice girls album which is a bit embarassing but as Colin confirmed yesterday, ‘it was a really good album.’

    What is a TYG?

  7. Mr Eye…you have gone down in our estimation…the spice girls! We thought you were a man…{of class!)

  8. My first single was The Final Countdown, by Europe. It still reminds me of school discos. My first album was “the greatest hits of 1987” I think. Oh yes!

    Jen, a TYG is “Terry’s young geezer” (as opposed to a TOG)

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