It was 6:30am by the time I rolled into Newton Abbot, the town was quiet (as you’d expect) but as I neared the bottom of Queen Street, there was a buzz in the air as today was no ordinary day, yes folks, it was the day of the 12th annual RECORD STORE DAY….
I parked up and wandered towards PHOENIX SOUND, an independent record store that has been there for years and was shocked to see a VERY healthy queue had formed, I’m not joking folks, there must have been nearly 100 people lined up ready to spend their hard earned cash on this year’s exclusives.
I had seen mixed reactions to this year’s offerings, aside from the usual smattering of Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and The Doors, there were also some nice looking pieces from IDLES, Bingo Hand Job (R.E.M. in disguise) and a healthy dollop of The Fall including a variety of live recordings and a sweet looking 7” box set. In the Soundtrack section, I was surprised to see a South Park double LP with a book listed at a rather pocket denting £175 as well as other exclusive film scores that have never been seen on the vinyl format before, there really was something for everyone!
I chatted to people at the front of the queue, there were some familiar faces amongst the crowd and I asked who had arrived first and everyone pointed to one chap, he had been there since 1:30am and get this, he had left Penzance at 10pm LAST NIGHT to get here….madness!
The shop opened at 8am sharp but before then the friendly staff wandered up and down the queue dishing out complementary cups of tea and coffee and added a continental touch to the proceedings with fresh croissants, a welcome treat to the people that had been stood still for a few hours in the cool early morning air.
8am came and in walked the guy from Penzance, he had a good few minutes to browse at his leisure before another batch of collectors came through the door, Will and his team were on hand to assist people, pointing them in the right direction and offering their superb advice to anyone with questions about certain releases.
It wasn’t long until some of the exclusives were sold out, the 20th anniversary set of HEAD MUSIC by SUEDE went off the shelf faster than anything else I saw and owing to the very limited amounts of other releases being available, it wasn’t long until people were asking if there were any ‘reserve’ stock set aside for later to replenish the shelves, sadly not!
I was taking photos in the shop as people were browsing and it was great to see such a range of people who are passionate about records and Record Store Day. I chatted to a young guy I met a couple of years ago who had come in for one item only and having been successful, stayed and managed to pick up another half dozen exclusives that he didn’t even see on the list the first time around, this my friends is the beauty of the record, sometimes, it’s the artwork that stands out and draws you in, when was the last time you ever stumbled upon an MP3?
As the till started to ring, Will’s face lit up with joy. I hung around the door waiting for people to leave and asked them if they had managed to get everything that was on their lists, the majority of people were very happy having picked up nearly everything that they came for, one chap from Cheltenham who had come down to see a friend in Newton Abbot mentioned that it was surprising how fast you can spend an awful lot of money on Record Store Day, I wholeheartedly agree and this is one of the major factors in why I started to cover the event rather than standing in a line from 3am on a cold Saturday morning and spending a couple of days pay on these delightful items.
Record Store Day gives people a reason to get out and chat with like minded individuals about music, records, gigs, whatever comes up in conversation and it’s amazing to see that no matter where you go in the country, people are SO passionate about it.
Having been home from the shop for about 30 minutes, I’m about to grab a shower, drop the dogs off to the grooming parlour and get myself back into town for a well needed haircut, I dare say that I might just swing by Phoenix Sound again and see what’s left….you never know!
I’d like to thank Will and his super-friendly team who allowed me to enter the shop ahead of opening time to take some pictures and chat to their customers ahead of and after making their purchases, please do all you can to support the independent record shops in your local area, it’s places like these that keep us together!
Words and Pictures by Steve Muscutt
For more photos, please click HERE to see the full gallery.