Diary of A Vinyl Picker

It’s getting late and the rain is lashing down in a small town, well, I was born in a small town, and I live in a small town and probably die in a small town! I pull my collar up around my ears, and push on through to the other side of the street and into another potential goldmine of vinyl.

OK, so I spend a lot of time looking for additions to my vinyl collection, and looking in charity shops and those kind off part antique centers – part “tat” shops can sometimes turn up some interesting little gems. What I find both interesting and frustrating is where a charity shop will open up a specialist shop selling music, film and books. You probably know who I mean. The concept is interesting because they have realised that some records are more valuable than others, and I totally get that. But, where I get frustrated is how they arrive at their prices. The object of the charity has to be to raise money for their cause, which I and everyone else applaud, but there has to be an equation between price vs. time to sell, and in some cases I think they get it wrong. Surely it would be better to get 70% of the possible value (always very subjective) in 7 days, rather than 100% of the possible value in 10 weeks.

One way of letting the market find its own level would be to put anything that might be valuable on to an auction site like Ebay. If the charity in question already does this, then I apologise for my ignorance, but I have never found myself bidding for a Beatles or Rolling Stones album on Ebay with the seller clearly identified as a charity. Knowing the people of the UK, I suspect a good number would bid more enthusiastically if they thought 100% of the money was a donation to a charity who do fantastic work in the community etc. (Could a charity collect tax relief on your donation? It would be even better if they could!!) From a cash flow perspective, this must be better for the charity, as they can turn their stock quicker, and who knows, as corporate as Ebay are, they may cut a deal on fees to be seen to be supporting charities in the UK. Just an idea.

One final grumble about the un-named charity above; if you do have a potentially valuable album, why put it in a sunny, hot, exposed shop window? I walked past my local shop last week, and there were a couple of quite good vinyls on show, namely a lovely copy of the Gorillas album Plastic Beach and a euro copy of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, both of which were slowly having their album sleeves discoloured and the vinyl cooked on a low heat until ruined. Crazy!!

Anyway, back to a cold, rainy day in a small town. I had been walking around all afternoon and to be honest was pretty despondent at the small number of shops that I had visited that even had any second hand vinyl at all. But, I  knew that this final shop, at the end of the high street, was usually good for something worth having. Over the years, I have found decent copies of some great 1990’s indie albums, including Definitely Maybe by Oasis and I Should CoCo by Supergrass, as well as some great NWOBHM albums and picture discs, including stuff from Iron Maiden.

As I struggled up the high street, the rain by now almost horizontal, the cold drops winning the fight to get under my collar and forming small icy rivers running down my neck, constantly wary about passing large puddles in case the constant flow of vans and lorries should spray me from head to toe in dirty, cold rain, what kept me going was the prospect of finding something unusual, possibly rare, but always in god nick. I was concerned about how I was to get this rare specimen of vinyl home without getting it wet and sodden, but plenty of time to worry about that later. First, let’s get in the warm and get searching.

I could see the shop, just past the new Subway sandwich place, and quickened my step. Almost there. One last swerve to avoid a meeting of a  passing white van and a large puddle, and I was there. I shook my coat, and full of expectation, I pushed the door. It was locked. It was Wednesday and they closed at lunch time. Bugger!




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