Going to a record shop and buying some records

‘The Joy brings you many things
It does not bring you joy’

The opening lines of Morrissey’s ‘Mountjoy’, the penultimate track on mighty ‘World Peace is None of Your Business’ long-player suggest a place, real or imagined, that cannot possibly make the visitor happy. As places offering little joy go, online record shops must be close to the ultimate in neutralised comfort.

Yesterday, cut loose in town, I strolled along to Rough Trade in Brick Lane. I’m not much at home in this part of town, its colonisation by the greased moustache and vest brigade making it far more alienating than in the days when it was a place for a half-decent curry Jack the Ripper walk. But Rough Trade itself retains a good stock of vinyl making it worth braving the trendier-than-thou atmosphere of a Saturday afternoon posing.

Some weeks ago, tempted by being busy and picking up Mozzer’s new one for a few quid off I’d ordered from an Amazon reseller that hadn’t turned up. The speed with which they refunded me suggested they hadn’t ever had a copy to pass on. Two-click purchase, dry and unsatisfying, followed by silence, waiting and eventually nothing.

The alternative was glorious. In the shop I met that curious chap, the teenage me, mildly overexcited to be surrounded by records, flicking through Smiths albums although I’ve had them all for nearly two decades. We both grabbed what we were looking for and then headed to the counter, pausing only to add something improbably esoteric to the pile before exiting, poor in pocket but rich in spirit.

That vinyl is now turning in front of me as I write this, the needle riding the grooves and playing layer upon layer of lovely sound. And then the stylus swings into the centre and turns in silence, and I mustn’t forget to turn it off.

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