Record Store Day – the actual day

Record Store Day – the actual day

Following my last blog about Record Store Day (RSD) I thought it might be interesting if I wrote a follow up about the actual day (mostly night!).

This year’s adventure started with bad news as my queuing buddy and fellow mad person woke up on Friday (the day before RSD) with a sickness bug.  We had already decided not to bother with sleep and head over to the shop at about 12:30am to grab our spot in the queue, but now it looked like it would just be me.  

This was extremely unlucky for him and meant that not only would he miss out on all the exclusive records he had planned to try and buy, but he would also not get to participate in the camaraderie and banter of the queuing experience.

The RSD queue is like the days when fans waited overnight outside their local record store to get tickets to a favourite band or buy a new release.  It’s a way to spend uninterrupted quality time with friends, make new ones, and see people you haven’t seen since last year’s queue.

I had decided to try and buy as many of the releases on my list as I could, but also buy some of my friend’s top choices so that he didn’t completely miss out.  My wife, who probably thinks we are crazy, decided that she would step in and come with me (I think to try and ensure I didn’t get carried away and to make sure I wasn’t on my own all night).  She need not have worried, well at least not about me being on my own!

Before we could get organised and head over to the store, I had the small matter of taking my eldest daughter and her friend to her first indoor concert.  We all had a great time, although I did think at one point that I must be insane to be going to a concert and standing up for hours before heading off to join a queue all night.

One quick shower later and we jump in the car and head over to my local store with our camping chairs, coffee and blanket.  We arrived at 12:30am and joined the 13 other crazy people who had arrived even earlier.

We were immediately made welcome and dug in for the night. Time flew as we discussed everyone’s RSD wishlists, concert history and greeted the late night revellers who couldn’t believe what we were doing.  Trying to explain to a group of young slightly worse for wear guys what a record is was very amusing, as was the lady who thought we might be illegal immigrants!

After a cold night in which we tried to get a couple of hours sleep we all stirred again at about 5am and patiently waited for the local café to open and warm us up with coffee and bacon butties.  At 6am the café opened and the lovely staff proceeded to come out and serve the queue with much needed warming refreshments.  The ladies in the queue were also very grateful for the use of the café’s toilet!

The next couple of hours until the store opened at 8am flew by.  Mark the owner of the shop arrived and went down the queue to greet all his regulars, give us all friendly abuse and meet any new crazies.  He then generously handed out the RSD goodie bags he had put together for the first 50 in the queue (including curated bags for the first 20).

We then spent about an hour all trying to re-read and memorise our RSD wishlists and work out our strategy for when we got in the store based on the layout we could just about see through the window.  Due to collective sleep deprivation this proved to be harder than the night before!  A lot of “my list made sense last night” and “I cannot read my own writing” was heard up and down the line.

Then the doors open and the first six well deserved people (the first started queuing at 5pm the night before) entered the store and were given 5 minutes before the next 6 were let in.  This was probably the longest 10 minutes of the whole night!

Our turn arrived and we joined the other collectors trying to decipher the alphabet, not easy after very little sleep, to find the records at the top of their lists.

You might think that this becomes a bun fight, but it is actually very orderly and polite.  Queue friends and strangers help others locate what they need, passing records to them that they know they want.  The end result was that my wife and I left the store by 8:30 with everything on my list and a few top choices for my friend.  

The whole experience was so much more than buying a few exclusive releases and the records I did buy will not only be great pieces of art in my collection, but will also bring back memories in the future of spending an all-nighter with a bunch of great people who all freely admit to being slightly mad.

My wife, who didn’t complain once and was a real star, thought it was a great experience even considering the cold and lack of indoor loo!  I am not sure she will do it again but she now appreciates more why I do.

RSD is not just about purchasing physical records instead of streaming online, it’s also about the face-to-face social interaction with the store owner and other customers, both of which are rapidly becoming a thing of the past in our modern world.

There is a small community which gets created around the record store by the owner and the regular customers.  RSD is just an excuse for everyone to turn up at the same time to support the store and to celebrate the fact that in this modern age we can still do stupid things with our friends rather than just clicking a mouse!