Record Store Day

IMG_20140416_133822It’s Record Store Day, and there’s lots of talk about why vinyl’s enjoying a revival. A commentator on the BBC dragged out the old ‘the artwork’s really good argument’ which doesn’t really mean much.

The truth is, a record is a social object, an item around which social capital is generated. You can sit with friends and share the experience, listening together and choosing favourite tracks. You can read the sleeve notes, and make connections to other artists with the same session musicians, engineers and designers, feeling like you  have arcane knowledge and entry to a mystery. The real magicians even decifer the run-out groove messages – a Porky Prime Cut, and Spiggy the cat. You can lend records to show trust, pass them on to show generosity (and thank you, Nick from Lancing, for giving me Psychedelic Furs, Siouxsie et al), sell them and collect them.

So records are special, bonding people, bringing gangs together, introducing us to youth cult folk stories and ancient knowledge, teaching us our place in a long continuity of music, fashion and beliefs. You don’t get that with a download.

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