Quite a question, I bet your mind’s racing right now, wondering what I am asking here, for some, their memories might take them back to THAT youth club disco for their first kiss or the first time that someone asked YOU out on a date, sadly, I am referring to the first piece of music that you bought!
I was going to call the feature ‘Do you remember the first time you bought a record?’ but seeing as there have been so many different platforms of music over the years (cassettes/CD's/records/digital downloads), I thought that I should leave it open to you to fill in the blanks!
I was born in the early 70’s, if you’re in the same boat, I’m sure me mentioning Our Price and Woolworths won’t confuse you in the slightest, it was at the latter that I made my very first musical purchase.
Picture the scene, it was June 1980 and we were in Skegness which was the nearest decent town to my Nan and Grandad’s place where we were holed up for a week in the summer holidays. It was a Saturday morning and I had managed to avoid the arcades for the past few days and had managed to save up the princely sum of 80 pence, a sum that could quite easily be spunked on Space Invaders and Asteroids. I was excited, the thought of me going into Woolworths and selecting a record on my own? This was something I had run over a thousand times the night before, what would I buy, would I go for the nicest looking sleeve (I refer to 7” records here) or would I instead opt for a track that I had heard on Radio1, it was soon time for me to make that all important decision!
We entered the store and my mum took me over to the music counter where the top 20 7” records were lined up nicely on the shelves, I was only 8 years old and being quite small for my age, meant that I could only reach the lower shelves, luckily for me, the record I wanted was sitting at number 15 in the charts and that was in easy reach of my short grasp, 2 minutes later, I was stood outside the shop, one hand clutching my mums hand, the other firmly clutching my new purchase, the classic ‘Lip up Fatty’ by Bad Manners….
I was mesmerized by the 2 Tone movement, all the bands fascinated me, The Specials, The Selector, The Beat, they were all up there and my purchase was going to make me the popular kid at the school disco’s when I would whip out my copy of the Bad Manners classic for the DJ to spin whilst all the kids were requesting old punk records by the likes of The Damned, Sex Pistols and some weird looking guy going by the name Adam and the Ants.
As soon as we got back to my Nan’s house, I ran in and asked her to drop what she was doing and put my record on their Ferguson ‘Entertainment Centre’, I waited excitedly whilst she faffed about, cursing at the thought of having to relocate the pot plant that was on top of the unit’s lid. She slid the record out of its sleeve (putting her fingers all over the record) and dropped the needle, I can still remember the crackle as the stylus fought with the vinyl and found its groove, then, the record started to play….
“Lip up, fatty, ah, lip up, fatty, for the reggae”
From that moment on, I was a vinyl junkie, from seeing the bands on Top of the Pops, reading about them in Smash Shits and dropping into Woolies on a Saturday morning to part with 79 pence in exchange for a brand new shiny piece of vinyl which I could hold, read the sleeve notes and race back home in order to enjoy, this process was a drug and I was well and truly hooked!
I seldom buy 7” records nowadays, they just seem like an inconvenience to me, you get it lined up, drop the needle and 3 minutes later, it’s on the run out groove, making that awful noise which sounds like white noise….
I visit town with my two lads nowadays and they appear to go through the same process when they stand in line, ready to select a packet of stickers or football collector cards, I hope that one day they’ll be bitten by the music bug and like me, enjoy the process of buying music and enjoying playing it about 47 times before the old man removes the record players fuse when you’re in bed, saying that, I guess they’ll be in the iTunes store instead of Woolworths and they’ll be hard pushed to read the liner notes on a 320kbps digital track. Maybe one day, they’ll enjoy the vinyl LP’s that I have collected since I was about 14 and start crate trawling in the last surviving record shops up and down the country, here’s to hoping!