Just look at these gems! That Prince poster was unexpectedly discovered after buying Dirty Minds at Rasputin (oh my gosh, Prince records have the best inserts and posters). And the S&G poster was tucked into a copy of Bookends that I found at a little record store in Lausanne, Switzerland. It’s one of my favorite purchases of all time (is there no imagery that better embodies Simon & Garfunkel than the 59th Street Bridge and a sprig of flowers??). So you see, another reason to celebrate the existence of the LP: free life-sized pictures of musical legends, just waiting to get unfolded and put onto a wall.
Which leads me to…
This past weekend was Record Store Day, and also Rock ‘N Swap at USF (I know, I was overwhelmed). I spent most of Saturday making my way down Haight Street, browsing through one record store until the next opened. I found it weird that 4 out of the 5 stores were no busier than they would be on any normal day, and then Amoeba was so packed that the checkout line wrapped all the way around the store. It was madness. Made me confirm that I’m not into RSD for the re-releases and special deals, but rather the experience of digging through stacks and bonding with people over a mutual nerdy obsession. Take, for instance, the well-dressed, effeminate guy looking through records next to me at Rock ‘N Swap, who told me that he saw me buying Remain in Light and was so excited for me. Thanks dude, I was excited too! Or the owner of Rooky Ricardo’s, who you can tell has been doing this for decades and always wants to make sure you know where to find what you’re looking for (at RR’s, I got this Taj Mahal album mostly because I liked the cover art, but the guy made sure to tell me it was a good choice and a great album).
My takeaway from RSD15: you don’t have to buy a ton of records to show your appreciation for record stores. Going there, and sharing the experience with friends or strangers, is half the fun.
…But it doesn’t hurt if you find some awesome albums along the way.