(Ha ha, we have now progressed to the first of: the new, never-before-published episodes of the Gin Club – World Premiere!)
So, groovy groovy, Bishop’s Stortford has its very own record shop, in our local, the Half Moon, no less. This is an absolute stroke of genius. You can just see the blokes dragged down town of a Saturday afternoon doing a swift u-ie on the way into M’n’S saying, ‘Look, darling, just remembered, gotta pop to the ‘record shop’. Meet you in there in an hour, yeah?’ If they’re clever they will remember to support their case with a couple of warped LPs under their arm to ‘sell’, ha ha. The girls on the other hand will get their bloke safely into Coopers and say with an airy wave, ‘Just gonna scoot up the ‘record shop’ for a bit, OK, love.’ She’ll do a runner, leaving him forlorn and palely loitering with the runner bean seeds, buggy, baby and toddler. ‘Record shop’, you see, is synonymous with ‘Break From Your Life.’
Records and old framed posters of bands who have played at the Half Moon bestrew the walls. The round tables are painted a glossy black, with one of those teensy records stuck in the middle…what did we used to call them? Singles? 45s? This is just it, the shop is so delightfully retro you can feel your brain shunting back into a seventies, eighties mode. You need your flares and Grateful Dead t-shirt on really or at the very least a perm.
Oh my God, it’s only gone and triggered a flashback to my very first single! It was by Soul Asylum and was my brother Pete’s, but I nicked it. It was called ‘Put The Bone In‘. Yeah, sounds rude! And probably was rude, thinking about it… It went ‘Put the bone in/ She begged him/ Once more/ My doggie’s been hit by/ A car/ And I do want to bring,/ Him home something/ Put the bone in/ She yelled out once more.’ Honestly in those days, people made songs out of the weirdest scenarios. And Lord only knows what was on the B side! Or maybe ‘Put The Bone In’ was the B side. Now that would make sense. In which case, I wonder what the hell was on the A side?
Can you remember sliding the record out of its sleeve, lowering the needle, watching a speck of dust go round and round? Can you still hear the crackle before the song started? Staring at the rhythmically undulating surface (if yours were warped like mine), you really got the word Groove.
We turned up for the grand opening and to find good records for Mad Lucy’s upcoming vinyl night. A DJ was strutting and fretting his hour upon the stage. Not really: he was chilled. The doors were open to the garden. Warm winds blew through the crowds flipping through records. The bar at the back of the room had become a counter. Still with handles for pulling beers though. Ooh, look! Merchandise! Badges, T-shirts, picks.
I’ll let you in on a secret. Remember that gorjuss Popstar who was behind the bar in the Star? Well, *whisper* he runs the ‘record shop’. He can’t leave if you arrive. He’s got to stay there, lol, it’s his job and he’s a sitting duck. Feel free. Gaze in awe as much as you like. Just don’t say any of the things in this video I came across on facebook: ‘shit people say in record stores.’
Top Tip: don’t turn up before midday. This shop only opens at midday. People who run record shops are obviously way too cool to be awake at any point during the morning due to the fact they are up all night listening to records or gigging in far-flung raves.
Another Top Tip: make sure you know what your favourite record is and make sure it’s a cool choice, otherwise you will never ever get a job there. My favourite record is not Put the Bone In, surprisingly enough, but is Captain Beefheart’s Blue Jeans and Moonbeams, with the track Party of Special Things to Do. In 1990, as Mill Road housemates, Fred and I, our friend Wozzie and the improbably named Abigail Rainbird Tripp held our very own Party of Special Things to Do. I can highly recommend it. It’s always good to provide things for your guests to do, keep em busy. There was table football in the bathroom, hacky sac, jamming, tree climbing, cocktail-shaking, throat-singing (this involved a bong and ended badly, I remember), backgammon, chess and probably some less benign things wot I have forgotten due to the nature of the event…but I DO remember learning that hallucinogens and big brown slug invasion do not go at all well together. We live and learn. This is a good thing.
After rummaging the Janis Joplin we sat out in the pub stable yard with our pints of Hobgoblin. Top Tip: don’t sit in the shorter squarish wicker seats. They are vicious and dig into your back. Go for the high-backed chairs and from there admire the rampant sunflowers, old stable doors, higgledy-piggledy mossy rooftops and chimney pots. Old England at its best.
Anyway, so! Fabulous hangout to meet up with friends, the ‘record shop.’ I told my Chloe about it, using ‘the fingers’. She got the wrong end of the stick entirely, gasped and exclaimed, ‘Oh wow! Is it a brothel?’
Ha ha, no, we don’t think so. One thing we are sure of: it’s a great excuse for a pint.