Wednesday evening, January 18th, 2012 around 22:00, outside Heathrow airport
It had been almost 2 years since the last time; however the smell, the blowing wind and the sense of euphoria every time he landed on that soil hadn’t changed a bit. He and his mates grabbed a cab to the hotel close to his old neighbourhood, checking impatiently their watches anxious to be on time for the last orders in the pub; not a second should be wasted. The schedule for the trip was really tight, too many things to do, too little time.
Friday afternoon, January 20th, 2013, somewhere in central London
A Frenchman, a card, a broken arm and the epiphany
Saturday afternoon, December 3rd 1994, somewhere in western Athens
He entered the cafeteria, where all his schoolmates used to gather on a Saturday afternoon for coffee and small talk. His mates waved at him. They were sitting on a table beside the big boys. Good choice, he thought, it was always entertaining to overhear the big boys chat about footie, music and clubbing. The main topic was the opening party several weeks ago and the blast everybody had had. He was well familiar with what the big lads were talking about. He and his mates had witnessed what would be a point of reference, a milestone in Athens nightclubbing for the years to come. They were so excited that they had become members that very night in order to jump the queue and save some money on the admission fee. That night a Frenchman was the special guest. He had run across a record of his, earlier that morning. At the time, there were no music genres – let alone subgenres – in his mind. As long as it was electronic and sounded right, he was game.
Saturday around midnight, December 3rd 1994, somewhere in central Athens
They took the last bus service, as per usual, to the city center. It was a good 20 minutes walk to the club, but that was no fuss. They were so anxious about what was going to happen that the distance and the cold were of minor importance. Outside the club a large queue was already forming. Three weeks ago, on the opening party, they were standing patiently one and a half hours in the cold to get in. Not this time he thought. They approached the bouncer and the face-controller jumping the queue with audacity. Upon showing their membership cards they were allowed in, amidst yelling and insults from the people in the queue. He smiled sardonically, as they walked the main entrance, already feeling goose bumps. He couldn’t tell if it were the lights, the smell, the banners, the people, but he would feel the same rush, every time he walked that door in the future. Any regular punter at the time would add to that. Continue reading
Wednesday morning, October 2003, somewhere in west-central London
The BT technician had just left the flat. Finally, the internet connection had been restored and upgraded to 2Mb. After almost 48h without a connection, the return to civilization was a great relief. His flat-mate had fallen into an internet coma for the last 2 weeks and the lack of internet connectivity had made him a bit quirky.
He left the flat and walked to the tube station. J* would be meeting him outside the Bond Street HMV store. Last night at the local pub J was telling him that a new vinyl section had been introduced at HMV with second hand vinyl and recent represses. At first he thought it was the lager talking, but J never bullshitted about 2 things: football and vinyl, so it was worth the shot. After all, he would be paying a visit to BM records anyway; HMV would be a minor deviation. Continue reading
Tuesday morning, October 1993
He is staring anxiously at the classroom clock counting the nanoseconds. It’s almost 10 and in about an hour or so the boxes with the new releases at the record store downtown are bound to open. There is no way he can make it before 2, unless he skips the last hour at school. He already knows that’s exactly what he is going to do.
The guy behind the counter had promised him that the tunes he was searching for the last weeks would be included in those boxes. It was not the first time the guy made such a promise just to get rid of him, but it didn’t worth the risk. He had to be there in person; phone-calls were never effective. Everybody, who has been at a record store more than twice, can tell a story about a record in a shelf already reserved for a radio producer, a dj or a mate of the store owner.
His impatience was intensified by the fact that every Tuesday morning all the big dogs of the scene would be there. He was a bit intimidated by them and the fact that they always had priority over him to listen to the tunes in the private booth was a bit frustrating. He could not spend as much as they did, as his only resource was his weekly allowance, so their priority status, however irritating it was, actually made sense.
He enters the record store which is already packed and many familiar faces are already searching the shelves and discussing with the guys behind the counter. There is a queue on the decks where one can hear a preview of a record before he can buy it. He heads directly to the jungle/breakbeat section. He knows that the possibility to find on the shelves the records he was looking for is much greater than to find them behind the counter. He’s right! Two records of the list are already there along with a couple of promos he should definitely check out. He picks them all up and visits the other sections waiting for a slot in the private booth. Continue reading
Sunday evening and is about time for the ritual. Holding a cup of coffee and a few hours to spare, it is undoubtedly his favourite part of the week. Time to check the new releases!
First task is to open the notepad where the wish-list is written down and check if everything from the previous week has been crossed out. Apparently not, there are too many new releases to follow nowadays, let alone he always comes up with an old tune worth finding and spare time isn’t unlimited. Although there is no longer a problem in terms of actual or virtual space (no more carton boxes full of records in every part of the house and hard discs’ capacity has increased over the years to accommodate every need), experience has taught that a few gigabytes of free disc space should be available at any time. Continue reading