Cure for Depression

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April 20, 2013 by admin

Most of my life I’ve had to go to the record shop at least once a week. Record-buying is my only cure for depression, and I can’t imagine that I’ll ever be happy with cassettes. There’s no thrill like the old thrill of cleaning the deck of last week’s consumption, putting on this week’s style.

Record-shopping is a surprisingly sociable activity. Propping up the counter (and I’m talking about small shops, provincial shops, special shops, record shops, not the audio hypermarkets) are disc jockeys, cultists, collectors, knowalls, obsessives, the unemployed. They watch with amused contempt the ‘ordinary’ buyers, the parents with a scruffy request list for their children, the routine rock fans, the desperate 12-year olds trying to collect all punk’s 1976 hits now. The record shop is where gigs and clubs and music are publicly discussed and placed, where changing tastes are first mocked and marked. British pop culture has always been dependent on this sort of active consumption, and on the constant entrepreneurial move from the organization of record-selling to the organizataion of record-making (think, most recently, of Rough Trade or Graduate or Small Wonder).

Simon Frith, “A-Blinga-A-Blanga, A-Bippity Bop I’m Going Down to the Record Shop,” 1982, back when Every Day Was Record Store Day and there was no need to formalize the concept  (collected in Music For Pleasure)

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