A bildungsroman of a girl with a love for Record Store Day

Words by Daisy Lacey - @daisy_lacey

In these obscure and insular times, where communities are coming together indoors, they are forgetting to do one thing. I am writing this with an uncharacteristically optimistic view that everything will be fine sooner than we think. I write this article as a reflection on my changing opinion on RSD and I managed to get one 7 inch single last year via a friend, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals Bubblin’ single with Busta Rhymes Remix. Although there were several on the 2019 list that I would have snapped up in a heartbeat had I been in a record store myself, I just didn’t feel it was ever going to be worth my time queuing up for a record I would have much more fun obtaining spontaneously.

Whether it meant trawling record fairs, scouting charity shops, popping to specialised stores or just exchanging with avid record hoarder friends and family, I have always been exposed and surrounded by vinyl records all my life. As a child of Manchester, my mother used to take me to Sifters records with my godmother, I would pick up the compact discs and my mum and dad were still buying records in the late '90s.

Thanks to the weirdest threat a mother has made to any child, as she convinced me that the needle would chase me around the house if I fiddled with the turntable, I was too scared to touch the record player. Despite this lunacy, I was always fascinated by the bulky presence of the turntable, the combination of fear and intrigue just added to my desire to own a turntable at some point in my life. The fact that this super-thin Frisbee turning on this box to play music was astonishing. The day my family got rid of their player and records to make way for cassettes, CDs and iPods, my fascination never faltered and a turntable was returned to its rightful place in 2014.

When I first heard about RSD in 2016, I just assumed it was some gimmicky nonsensical rubbish, probably coined by some ‘independent publication’, trying to lure in those desperate wannabes who want to appear edgy and different. As someone who has always been an outsider, the thought of such an event angered me, everything I had always found cool and got picked on for was becoming popular. The fact I got laughed at for my musical preferences whether it by down to whom my favourite artist was or how I chose to listen to my music, the thought that those who picked on me were jumping on the bandwagon left me fuming.

I have since learnt, the true ethos behind RSD and why my only-child-syndrome should not have got the better of me. Record store day or RSD started in 2008 in the USA, to celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store. Certain records of records are pressed specifically for RSD with a list of releases for each country and these records are distributed to participating stores. It has since gained global popularity including our own United Kingdom.

Now last year, sullen and cynical I thought it was a gimmick and a rip off however; the lockdown has reminded me of something very important. We were living in a hideously consumerist society, where demand never ceased because we consumers fell for ‘marketing’ from major companies. With the progression of technology to the music streaming services and the need for instant gratification of desires, the independent store was being left behind, seeming to vanish.

Since the COVID-19 lockdown and postponement of events such as RSD, there are stories being published about how the self- employed are struggling and we should try to aim to shop locally and independently. I have been trying myself to shop consciously on all fronts, from essentials to the optional, under this government; the independent shops are struggling to balance their books at the best of times. Now that record stores have had to shut their physical doors, it really began to sit uncomfortably with me how bad my shopping habits have been.

This is why during the lockdown, I gave the RSD list for the U.K. another glance, not only with the desire to break free out of the confines of lockdown but with the hope that the independent record stores DON’T suffer once the country is off its sickbed and back on its feet. The recognition of the RSD ethos has massively changed my mind and has given me a much more open-minded outlook on not only RSD but the future of independent record stores on the whole.

Record Store Day was due to excite the vinyl loving anoraks of the world on April 18th 2020. The list was released on March 5th 2020. RSD however; has been postponed to June 20th as far as we know. If all, fortunately, goes ahead, I am hoping I can fully embrace RSD 2020 for the first time ever and hopefully walk away with Les Fleurs by Minnie Riperton and the cover of Bulls on Parade by Denzel Curry.

Looking ahead, I hope to end my cynicism when that crescendo to the haunting chorus from Les Fleurs on a beautiful summer’s day hits my ears and I am spinning around in a summer dress in my tiny back garden, will be the perfect metaphor to show my celebration of RSD. And for those who wish to contest me about my change of cynical heart in favour of RSD will get a scary exploding microphone from Denzel Curry, shattering not only my music snobbery mould but yours too.

Stay safe for now and think to the future, once we are all free, we can go back to supporting our local record stores whether or not they participate in RSD. I will try to be even more mindful about not only where I shop, but to be more conscious about what I am buying, how I am supporting a growing community of independent traders. If we think about how we are going to help others in the future, we will overcome the lockdown quicker than we can say Record Store Day.