I have such fond memories of buying music. I would lace up my Vans and shout out to my Mum that I was walking into town to spend whatever money I had managed to earn/borrow/steal. I grew up in Worthing, which is very much the ‘seaside-town that they forgot to close down’. I would stride past the beach-huts and the Martin Parr-esque postcard tearooms, my knuckles white in my pocket from clutching at my riches. It didn’t matter how crumbling and nostalgic the elderly town was because we had a shiny Our Price, the walls of which were lined with CD’s and cassettes. There would be no need for browsing for records, my mind having been made up either by my older brother or by the broad myriad music magazines, magazines that were big, serious broadsheets deservedly printed on real newspaper.
Grinning under my blonde fringe I would present the teller with a crisp note and then the real excitement would begin. Walking home I would memorise the song titles and liner notes, instinctively side-stepping any pedestrians that I sensed in my way. By the time I was sitting in my bedroom with my headphones on and the new CD ready to spin, the anticipation levels were so high that as soon as the music started playing I couldn’t help but feel a surge of happiness and pure enjoyment. My money spent, those twelve songs would have to last me for as long as it takes a pre-teenage boy to save up another ten pounds. I would feast on the music, absorbing every idiosyncrasy.
Things are better now. Music is essentially free and instantly available. I am forever excited by change and although my vinyl collection is a source of great pride for me, I don’t have a serious issue with the compression of audio into Mp3 format. I love how instantly accessible reviews are, although I don’t always agree with them. What I find sad is the devaluation of music that all these changes can encourage. Next time you are skimming through a new release on Spotify try to remember that kid walking home or sitting on the bus or saving up his pocket money just for the chance to devour twelve songs.