Saturday, April 21, 2012

Get Your Vinyl On: The Record Stores of Your Life

Bin flipping at Cake Shop
Today after my library shift, I made sure to observe International Record Store Day, one of my high holidays.  I've spent huge chunks of my life flipping through records in record stores, chatting with record store clerks and sliding balancing the edge of vinyl in my palm, placing it carefully on the Technics turntable I picked up the '80s to get me through college.  I then spent hours staring at the ceiling while the needle made its way to the center of the record:  for years, it was the Doors, and then Led Zeppelin.  Also, the Beastie Boys and Black Flag.  

Many of my journal entries from that era are basically love letters to my music collection.  Music was more than my only vice, many times, as maudlin as it sounds--it seemed like my only friend, or at least my only boyfriend.  This is not my memory of college, but the evidence is there:  I was more alienated than I remember.

The record stores of my life include Cougar Records (where I bought my first Bowie) and Shenanigans in Provo (where I bought countless records), Cosmic Aeroplane and Raunch (where I got my Husker Du and first little Beastie's seven inch) in Salt Lake.  Amoeba in Berkeley.  Tower Records in New York and San Francisco, The Record Shop and Bebop Records in Yuma, AZ which I visited during holiday breaks. 

After college, I stored my unwieldy collection in my grandmother's basement.  When she died in 2008, I had to deal with it.  I picked out the best of it for my suitcase and Shelley ended up taking the rest of it back to Portland in a trailer.  On a trip to Portland soon after, I basically liquidated most of it on Mississippi Avenue, which is still painful to me. 

Now that vinyl is something of a force again, record stores have a reason to stay open.   And the annual Record Store Day celebrations are a lot of fun.  Other Music had live musician deejays and new vinyl releases.  Cake Shop had free bands in the basement from noon to 7:00 pm and the music is still going over there.   (Below is my photo of local band Hector's Pets covering Thin Lizzy on Cakeshop's teeny tiny stage.)

The first record I ever owned was The Partridge Family's Sound Magazine which was gifted to me Christmas of '72.  Do you have any good vinyl memories?

P.S.  My roommate Shannon and I were the only two college girls in Provo I knew who collected records back in the '80s.  And even today all of the bodies in front of the record store's bins were dudes.  What's up with girls and music collecting?  Is it too geeky?  Dare I say:  unattractive?  Too much on the autism spectrum?  What?

P.P.S.  We are currently NOT set up to listen to vinyl here at the homestead.  My collection languishes unlistened to.  I think we need a new needle for the Technics turntable that we picked up from a street seller for five bucks.  Must continue to investigate.

Hector's Pets wish Carter was prez.

Cute sign at Cake Shop

1 comment:

  1. i felt lucky to celebrate record store day at Aquarius records in san francisco this weekend!
    it's such a special place. they write excessive descriptions of the music they sell, so it's a great place to find new music.