Working out my first CD is proving difficult, but I think I’ve narrowed it down to one or two. It was sometime in 1988 and I would have been 14. I was buying a bit of vinyl by then (no longer interested in the Now That’s What I Call Music! tapes), mainly electro / hip hop, synth-pop and indie, and early house tracks: I was just beginning to get my NME reserved at the papershop next door. It was before I had my decks, so the format was irrelevant. Both the shops I spent my money in (Mike Lloyd Music and Replay Records, both in Stoke) had good bargain sections some of the time, so CDs were sometimes really cheap: 5 for £2… I think that’s how I ended up with the soundtrack to Paris, Texas.
But better than that were the bonus tracks that CDs were offering. For a quid more you would get the b-sides to that album’s singles or some remixes. For Pixies’ Surfer Rosa (4AD), however, you got a whole extra mini-album, and what a mini-album at that*. So my first CD was the Surfer Rosa/Come on Pilgrim release, and I listened to it a lot, and still do. Next year they came to Stoke to support Doolittle, and I hung out outside to meet them after the gig, having seen the soundcheck in the afternoon. The energy in that album could have me jumping around the house even now, and I hope my daughters (one named Rosa!) will enjoy it as much as I do. I loved the screeching of guitars and Black Francis, and the speed at which it moves with songs starting and ending in 3 minutes or less: listen to the 90 seconds of Broken Face. And then follow this song with Gigantic: brilliant.
I still buy CDs… Yes, I get some music as MP3s, and I’ve the internet so I don’t need to actually buy the stuff that I’ll only listen to once. However, I often buy CDs that are part gift and part not. If I’m sufficiently ahead of myself to buy a CD a few weeks in advance of giving it to my brother or sister, I buy it and give it a few listens… own it for a while. The last CD I did this with was Hudson Mohawke’s Butter (WARP). Sadly, I didn’t like it anywhere near as much as Satin Panthers so I won’t be borrowing the CD back.
And when I buy CDs? They’re usually from Amazon or Bleep, and I contribute to the end of the high street record shop. Both the shops I mentioned earlier are long gone – Stoke has some second-hand/remainders stalls in the markets and a couple of good second-hand record stores – so for new releases I may well have to go to HMV, and why would I do that?
* This wasn’t as good a deal as the extra tracks when Network released the Derrick May/Mayday/Rhythm Is Rhythm compilation Innovator. The vinyl had 6 tracks, while the CD had 12, including The Beginning.