Sunday, 24 April 2011

Records, buying music and how it will never be the same again

It may be difficult to imagine what was like in the eighties if you didn't experience them.  In fact, you might look at your families old photos and laugh at the terrible fashions and hairstyles.  I wouldn't blame you. In the eighties, I was a youngster but I still remember the good and bad things about fashion.  The sleeveless T-shirts (only gym queens looked good in them - the other poor sods looked like trailer trash rejects), long quiffs / flicks (I wanted to be Phil Oakey, and still do) and grey slip-on shoes (the 'Jedward' of men's shoes).  Aside from actually having hair in the eighties, a highlight was owning fold-up aviator sunglasses.  I didn't care if people scoffed at me.  I felt cool and that's all that mattered.

My parents weren't massive music lovers, but my mother did like country music and consequently to this day, I still love Dolly Parton.  Apparently, according to my mother, my first word was 'Man' (as in 'Stand By Your Man' - the Tammy Wynette classic).  It's ironic that my first word became my favourite word, a word that I've been particularly obsessed with since puberty.

I'm always thinking about music and the industry and how it's changed over the years. By 1986, I was a typical music-lover.  I bought my first record, and that one purchase was the start of a long lover affair with collecting music. 

By the late eighties / early nineties, I had huge amounts of vinyl, mostly bought from a few local shops and some given to me from DJ friends.  I lived through the era of Stock, Aitken & Waterman, buying Kylie vinyl and cassingles (cassette singles).  I then made the move to dance music, euro-pop, acid house, Soul II Soul etc...  I was a DJ junky.  It was a fun time because buying was a great experience.  We didn't have the days of the internet and convenience.  We had to go out to shops and meet people.  I would often buy music on the advice of my friends and DJ's.  In one popular DJ shop, the owner would put sticky labels on the covers, and write a small description about the music.  'What it sounded like'? 'The genre?' ...and 'was it any good?' I haven't felt the same level of excitement about music since.  Of course, I still love music.  It's in my soul.  The changing face of technology has impacted how we purchase music and therefore those days are now long gone.  It's a shame because the youth of today will never experience the joy of searching through stacks of records and finding something that's amazing.   The joy of owning vinyl was being able to appreciate its beauty.  The creative artwork and the limited editions - the posters, the picture discs, box sets.... If you were a fan of an artist, you had opportunities to collect their material in a way that is far more impressive than a few folders of mp3's on somebodies hard-drive.