It’s 1996, I have literally 97p to live on ’til Tuesday and I really want to go to Shaft at the Welly Club tonight.
What’s a girl to do? Easy. Cram a load of vinyl in a record bag and head down to Offbeat Records for a spot of bartering.
I’d usually walk away with an empty record bag and just enough cash for a bottle of Lambrini, a packet of Marlboro Lights and the club entry fee. So then I’d be ready to hit the dance floor in my plastic catalogue heels, Raggy skate dress and blue nail varnish.
I will never forget opening the doors to the steaming hot dance floor, sweat dripping off the walls, the floor moving under my feet and losing myself to the sound of Fatboy Slim, Alex Reece and the Ganja Kru (Super Sharp Shooter anyone?).
Of course, when I awoke the next day all I would have to show for it was blistered feet, smoky hair and a seriously diluted record collection. Oh, and debilitating nausea threatening to jeopardise my Saturday night out at Spiders nightclub (with a very different sound to Friday night – Jilted John and The Cure anyone?)
I don’t regret the nights out (most of them anyway), but I do regret my choice of fundraising efforts.
Let me say this one thing to anyone who has spent time building up a record collection: treasure it. Love it. Protect it. Sell your clothes, your shoes, sell the sofa from the communal flat you’re kipping in, but whatever you do, DO NOT SELL YOUR VINYL.
So on this Record Store Day 2020, I am going to lament the loss of some of my most prized possessions (and, as it turns out, my youth). My adventures through long-lost vinyl – from teenage angst to music wanker and old-school cool.
Hole – Pretty on the Inside LP
There was something very endearing about Courtney Love to a 15 year-old girl who really wanted to be something she quite clearly wasn’t. I first got this album from my boyfriend. It was poor sound quality recorded badly onto a Memorex cassette with the track listings scribbled in blue biro. Needless to say I was ecstatic when I got the vinyl version.
And when I managed to talk the owner of Offbeat records into photocopying the lyric sheet he had in his earlier copy of Pretty on the Inside I was complete. I could finally sing (debatable use of language) the proper lyrics from my bedroom…
Slut kiss girl won’t you promise her smack….
So now I knew the words. Although I’m still not entirely sure my naive brain understood the point the album was making, other than there are scary dolls and crack and whores and broken bones. But I adored it.
This was the album of my teenage years. Yet I was far from the Teenage Whore (track one) that Courtney professed to be. More a slightly awkward wallflower (until Lambrini intoxication saved the day).
Trade deal: Pretty on the Inside for a game of pool and three cigarettes
Sonic Youth/Mudhoney: Touch Me I’m Sick / Halloween 12″
Pure rock ‘n’ roll. I felt pretty cool owning this. Less so when, many years later, my friend’s boyfriend filmed us mum-dancing to a CD version in my kitchen. It was bye bye Lambrini, and hello Prosecco.
The only thing that remained constant was the ciggies (they’ve gone as well now). We would probably have looked far more comfortable dancing to Mumford and Sons but hey ho. We tried to bring it back.
Trade deal: Touch me I’m Sick 12″ for a post-Welly drunken snog with the Scottish student from across the road.
Green Day: 39/Smooth LP
Basically, I just want to be a total music wanker and let everyone know I had Green Day’s debut album while they were still gigging at tiny pubs in Leeds, (ones I wasn’t allowed to go to because it was GCSE time) and the thought of a Broadway musical was about as rad as a Stock Aitken and Waterman reunion.
I was there before Dookie. I was there before American Idiot. Because I searched high and low for cool music and I found it (this is a lie – it was purely because my first boyfriend liked them).
I liked to think I was part of an exclusive members club who read Maximum RocknRolland knew who Jello Biafra was.
In reality, I couldn’t stand the Dead Kennedys, I had no idea what Maximum RocknRoll writers were banging on about, and Green Day was about as punk as I was going to go (let’s be honest, it’s pretty pop isn’t it). But who cares. I had the debut album on vinyl.
Had being the operative word.
Trade deal: 39/Smooth LP for one cloakroom ticket and a tequila slammer (pushing the boat out that night).
Luscious Jackson: Citysong 12″
Being a fan of the Beastie Boys I had to get this. An all-girl band on the Beasties’ record label. I bloody loved this. It was light relief to my earlier love of Sonic Youth and Hole and in my mind made me seriously cool.
I’m not sure why but the lead singer had an air of something about her. It might have been the lazy, laid-back vocals and the fact they obviously hung out with the Beastie Boys. Cool by association.
And having this little beauty in my record collection associated me as well.
Trade deal: Luscious Jackson 12″ for a cut-price miniskirt from C&A and a pre-club pint at the Blue Lamp.
Untouchable Beats – Outcaste Vol 1 LP
This one was never actually sold. I think it was later in about 1997 that I bought this. Indian vibes by various artists with the legendary Mathar hit by the Dave Pike Set and the kitsch Take Off Your Clothes to Feel the Setting Sun by Wolfgang Dauner Quintet.
So no, I didn’t sell it, but I did learn a very valuable lesson with this album. Never position your record player by a big sunny bay window and leave your naked vinyl on top of it.
Warped – and not in a good way.
Trade deal: Untouchable Beats for tears and remorse at own stupidity.
Happy record store day!
Illustration by Jo Neary