Monday, November 20, 2006

being a shop assistant

it's 5.30am.
i've been up since 4am worrying about some work i need to get finished.

now, full of coffee and with the work done (phew) my mind has turned to approximately 300 different subjects (that'll be the coffee), one of which is the week i spent working in my local record shop when i was 15.

i've mentioned the local record shop before.
it was called langland's.
it was my mecca.
weekly visits, sometimes daily visits almost always saw me coming away with something for the turntable.

with 21 years hindsight however the place was pretty nasty.
by midday there would be a half dozen blokes steadily drinking pints bought from the pub across the street - so much in fact that the shop became known as the langland arms.

smiths | the smiths

the first thing that should have rung alarm bells for me was when the smiths' first album came out.
the owner of the shop didn't like the smiths.
which was fine. that was his choice.
i arrived after school to pick up my copy and as i was passed it across the counter a long splodgy line of biro was drawn across the front.
i didn't complain.
but i should've.
(i've since managed to clean the offending pen mark off the cover).

one week i was asked if i'd like to help out in the shop for a week as the owner was going on holiday.
i'd been in there so often i knew my way around and knew the shop's VERY odd system for filing the records behind the counter - this involved records sitting in their inner sleeves in alphabetical/numerical order of catalogue number sub-divided into record label.

obviously i jumped at the chance.
every morning i got to the shop half an hour before opening time to get the place together, tidy up a bit, get the doors opened to clear the fug of pub-like, stale beer and cigarette air.

i enjoyed the entire week.
especially tuesday and thursday morning when the orders arrived and i had to go through the boxes sorting out all the new arrivals and getting customer orders ready.

the following monday the owner was back and i went in to hand back the keys.
a couple of records had come in for me that week too, but i'd resisted taking them home.
through the mists of time i think one of them was this:

fall | this nation's saving grace

but i can't be sure.

i handed over the keys and hung about wondering what i'd get for my week's work.
would i be paid some money or perhaps i'd be given the couple of records i'd ordered as payment?

the owner thanked me and handed me my pay.

it was a pair of sunglasses sent to every shop in the country as a promotional tool by polygram.

they went in the trash as soon as i got home.

i'm stil angry about it 21 years later.


  • At 12:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I bought TNSG from Langlands.

    Wasn't your copy was it?


  • At 4:24 AM, Blogger crayola said…

    i've spent the last 2 or 3 hours trying to work out what the acronym TNSG is for.

    i'm having a mental blank.


  • At 5:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This Nation's Saving Grace...

    Sorry to waste so much of your life

  • At 5:38 AM, Blogger crayola said…

    ah, i see.

    you're not wasting anything.

    no, i bought did buy my copy form there in the end.
    though i sold it back to the shop a few years later and then bought it again.

  • At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Have you read "Lost in Music" by Giles Smith? There's a description of a record shop in there which reminded me of Langlands a bit.

    Highly reccomended if you've not read it...


  • At 12:25 PM, Blogger crayola said…

    i haven't but i will.
    thanks for the tip.


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