Keith Goldhanger takes in RSD14 and ruminates on the state of the nation and how real music saves more than just the day.

I don’t have enough physical space in my life to buy records.

I’m sorry.

There’s a housing crisis.

However, there’s a shit load of vinyl at the bottom of the wardrobe I sometimes think about before hitting YouTube in the hope that someone has uploaded one of those tunes that were played to death as a teenager.

It appears that the hot slabs of vinyl released for record shop day 2014  (OK record… “STORE”) were purchased well before some of us got out of bed today. As we all know, however, a slab of vinyl is not just for today.

These places (GET THIS !!!!!!) are open all year round apparently!

There was a mental list written up a week ago…That Jagwar Ma/Temples remix, the Liars 12 inch with the string in it and the XFM Xposure sessions album to name three.

If they all become rare and unavailable then that’s my loss.

The thing that gets us out of bed early today is trying to catch a glimpse of Nottingham’s SLEAFORD MODS outside London’s Rough Trade West shop. Ideally if we hadn’t drunk all that ale at the previous evenings CuT extravaganza we could have caught the Slow Club and Adam Ant but realistically we hadn’t even contemplated the Easter crowds dragging their heels slowly down the Portobello Road stopping every five feet to inspect the antiques on show.

Anyway, Sleaford Mods…pleasing those like us who have forsaken breakfast for an early pint in order to see and hear how much ground this duo are making. Old blokes already singing along and young blokes realising that it’s OK to watch old blokes singing along to old blokes and pointing at other old blokes saying…”Didn’t that old bloke over there used to be in that band that got banned from radio one and were plastered all over the papers in the 70s?…Yes, there was even a Sex Pistol wandering around (Paul Cook).

Sleaford Mods play half a dozen tunes and avoid smashing a local disgruntled punter who stands about six inches from Jason Williamson’s mouth and proceeds after a few seconds to attempt to take the mic and no doubt charm us with something equally as good as what we’re hearing….well, no….to be honest I doubt this chap had uttered a coherent sentence in ten years as the ladies in blue would testify who are employed to take the man away and restore law and order around this part of the capital.

 

Once the dust has settled we get a lot of swearing and a lot of laughs as individuals pick up bits of lyrics that others miss due to swerving slow moving traffic brushing gently against onlookers ankles.

Edwyn Collins playing outside this shop on the pavement wasn’t what we ever expected to see when we hark back to that day 30 years ago when the juke box in the Railway Tavern West Hampstead only had one song on it (“Rip It Up” – they mended the machine a few days later I’m told). His performance with a couple of acoustic playing associates is superb and we even get a couple of hits that get passing shoppers asking who we all are standing around watching as recognisable dittys echo around Talbot Road.

Then after a quick dash into the West End where hoards of people seem to be dancing along the side streets whilst drinking beer outside pubs featuring drum and bass DJs normally heard at 4am as opposed to 4pm, people are kept entertained while queueing for toilets as we start to realise we’re missing Augustines and haven’t actually been inside a record shop yet.

But hundreds have and it seems like all but one or two of us are holding onto their plastic bags with their recently purchased rarities.

Ruts DC, as they’re known nowadays, pull a huge crowd reminding us that living in London can be ace and especially when sound tracked by such classics as “Babylons Burning”, “Staring at the Rude Boys” and “In A Rut”.

We’re also reminded that there’s hundreds of us around here that haven’t stopped putting needles on records, hitting the play buttons and putting a  stop to this pasttime in order to grow old gracefully as our parents expected us to.

Much of the “youth of today” back in the ’80s never did grow out of listening to music, we all grew up together and I’m sure the next generation will too. Days like record store/shop day are when this becomes noticeable and therefore a cause for celebration in acknowledgement of it.

Music keeps us young, keeps us all together, gets us all together and makes us realise that we’re all angry and celebratory about similar things whether political or simply musical. Record shop day (stores store records, shops sell them) was a roaring success for reasons other than just buying limited edition slabs of vinyl although at least one of us will return to these shops we never managed to (queue up and) enter today. We’ll grab a couple of things we wouldn’t normally have been interested in and go home happy, which is surely the point of events like these that went on all around the globe last weekend.

Some of us got home in time to see some kid in cowboy suit throwing knives at his mum under the banner of Britain having talent.

Yeah…if you don’t get off your arse then this may be deemed as talent but ask yourselves in 30 years time whether you still remember that shit and you’d be lost, whereas Edwyn and the Ruts (and I’d wager in 30 years time, Sleaford Mods) are national treasures. A couple of many national treasures we have in the UK and also worth celebrating….blimey did I ever tell you the first thing I learnt to play on a bass guitar…..?

–OK I’ll leave that for another time.

~

By Keith Goldhanger, find his Louder Than War archive here.

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