Essay - The Joy of Record Shopping

This weeks article is something a little different; a personal reflection titled ‘The Joy of Record Shopping’.

In many ways I think I have always been a collector. From an early age I remember queuing at a ’swap shop’ to complete my 1995 Premier League sticker album, and aiming to read all of the R.L. Stine ‘Goosebumps’ books.

As I got a little older this transferred into collecting records. I remember receiving ‘Oasis - Be Here Now’ for Christmas and saving pocket money for the subsequent album ‘The Masterplan’. Once I had my first Saturday job I would visit the local record shop ‘Circa Records’ every Monday to browse the latest releases to add to my collection having read about them in the previous weeks NME magazine.

While music is much more accessible now with streaming services offering huge catalogues of music, I still believe there is a place for physical releases. On recent trips to London and Manchester I spent time browsing independent record shops searching for hidden gems, artists recommended to me by friends and albums by seminal artists.

I know that I can find most of this music on streaming services, but I find the process of obtaining and listening to a physical record a much more immersive and rewarding process. It evokes memories of when I discovered the artist, who recommended it to me, where I bought the record and moments in my life associated with listening to a particular record. For me this deeper connection and experience of owning the physical item combines to enhance and enrich the listening experience.