Don’t just look for truth in distant places.

Hydro WPAs the needle finally settles on Record Store Day releases, the annual questions about its legitimacy are raised.

Bands who have long since put down their instruments are releasing new 7”s or bands who spend most of their time flogging a dead horse have a 10” picture disc of their worldwide smash from 30 years ago for the sad. For many record labels, it’s a vault digging exercise. But there are always acts that release something new and current for RSD.

This isn’t the point of today’s lecture on the record industry in 2015. I’d like to ask why so many people complain about records going up on eBay for inflated prices? Johnny Marr asked fans not to pay these prices. There was also a rumour of him pressing more, which some punters complained about as it made their purchase less valuable.

The search doesn’t end at your local shop, and if eBay is against your principles, why not look further afield? You’ll be amazed how much fun you can have, and how rewarded you can be.

Over the last five years, I have had one or two items on my list per RSD. This year I had five, two I definitely wanted.

I queued outside my local shop with other record collectors, many with beards; some may even have girlfriends or wives. But it was mainly the very nerdy of the collector range at 8.45am outside Rockaway Records, Brisbane. Yet, after 5 minutes I was about to leave empty handed, apart from Citizen Dick for my sister. It was a safety net, being in the UK her RSD started later than mine.

Rockaway is my local shop and the staff know me and what I collect, so I tend to get a call before an item hits the shelves should it fall into my requirements, so searching in a very crowded shop to gain 20% off secondhand vinyl didn’t appeal.

From my contacts up and down the east coast of Australia, I searched for my beloved Simple Minds Live at the Hydro double LP on transparent vinyl, and the rather superfluous ‘Waterfront’ 7” picture disc, plus the aforementioned Marr release and ‘In The Heat of The Moment’ from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Nothing, and it seems they may never have even made it to these shores.

Due to the policy of not selling online for seven days, my UK contacts who are scattered far and wide also drew blanks. Gallagher and Marr selling out and Simple Minds not arriving. Fans on the SM forums said their copies had turned up in the oddest of towns in provincial Britain.

Which proved the case for me. An almost last gasp Facebook call out to Raves From The Grave in Frome, Somerset, rewarded my endeavour as they had both SM items in. So, from a simple post on Facebook, within an hour I had bought the items at lower than eBay prices, ranging today from $50 to $154 with postage on top, and six days later had them at my door.

RSD Rockaway WPThe patience of a record collector can be determined by the size of their wallet, and their ability to get off their backside. But for five years I have never found an item I wanted on RSD in my local shop. I’ve heard the previous 12 months orders can dictate their delivery regardless of requests, which sees me, and my store, being punished for a niche band rather than the more popular acts within Australia, usually American rock – there were millions of Foo Fighters 10”s and Springsteen LPs in my local shop and loads advertised on social media in the days after.

But every year, through some searching and making of contacts I have never overpaid for any items and have a full collection of my most desired RSD releases. While I have paid for the cost of postage from the UK to Australia, this equates to a similar cost to the shops I frequent.

Returning today, three weeks after the rush, there are still copies of Springsteen LPs, Nina Simone, Bad Days, the Saints, Johnny Cash and The Black Sorrows, who were pushed phenomenally in the run up. I wonder if come RSD 2016 some of these items are discounted. Especially the Springsteen LPs, as in Rockaway an original Born To Run and Born In The USA can be picked up for a tenner for the pair, throw in Nebraska and you have the bedrock of a Boss collection.

I like the idea of RSD, but as a record buyer and a serious collector, two other things occur to me. First, and it has been noted amongst several stores, it is a day where people talk to each other and ask how each other got on, helping people find something of interest. Last year I spoke to a bloke who did not know Mick Jones was in BAD after The Clash, he then moved one step to his left to look in the B section – I recommended No. 10 Upping St from the couple of items available. Another year, a gentleman with a lot of electronic vinyl saw my Simple Minds t-shirt and asked if their latest LP was any good?

Secondly, and importantly for many shop, takings go bonkers.  It’s a lot of expense to be involved in RSD and you don’t want too much left over stock. But the chances of buyers only picking up their RSD releases are slim, especially when there are often discounts on offer to shift other stock.

My main gripe is I have never experienced the joy of finding an RSD release on the day, and despite other purchases and finally getting my hands on my selected items, it remains a lottery I enter knowing I’ve only picked five numbers when I need six to hit the jackpot. I do love seeing a 12” parcel on the doorstep though. It’s also great hearing shop workers in the UK when you say you live in Australia.

DF WPSo, today, I picked up a wonderful copy of Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and a couple of singles I was interested in, as I could take my time to browse with ease. Once home I escaped the wife and kids, kicked back and listened as I stroked my beard. This, to me, is my Record Store Day and a day I oft repeat throughout the year.

“It’s dreamlike… I’m walking around in a cool blue but sort of crowded place with great music playing and people really listening…now and then talking about music. Incredible; there is new vinyl, old vinyl, more CD titles than seem possible, old posters, new posters, turntables, sharp gear and graphics, news about every show around, amazing music I haven’t heard before, and the great vibe of a place so familiar that it feels …like home? …Of course. It is home. It’s a record store.” – JD Souther

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