7-inches from upper left to bottom right:
Love You More by the Buzzcocks
1978 United Artist Records UP 36433
Favorite Track: Love You More
Rowche Rumble by the Fall
1979 Step-Forward Records SF 11
Favorite Track: Rowche Rumble
Everybody’s Happy Nowadays by the Buzzcocks
1979 United Artist Records UP 36499
Favorite Track: Why Can’t I Touch It?
Pay to Cum! by Bad Brains
2000 Not On Label
Favorite Track: Pay to Cum!
Maybe I am speaking to an older generation when I speak of the “big find”–that moment when digging through the crates and you see something you are intimately familiar with, but, for a second, you pass it like it is an illusion. Maybe it was your favorite CD handed down to you by parent or sibling, maybe you had a poster of it hanging on your wall, maybe you drooled on your keyboard while eating breakfast when the Discogs.com page loaded, maybe you only heard about it from way cooler friends and here it is in person. This isn’t Amazon or Discogs or the new record that Whole Foods and Urban Outfitters just stocked. This is from before you were born. This has never been reissued. This is why you go to your favorite record stores every week. This is why you find new record stores. This is something you have been waiting to see for eight, nine, ten plus years. This is you crying in public or jumping off of your feet or smiling so hard your teeth may shatter or laughing like an escaped mental asylum inmate. You are going to remember this moment for the rest of your life.
This is going to cost you.
In the ten plus years of record shopping, I have been fortunate to have experienced this sensation, this thrill numerous times. I will write about many of them. This particular “big find” was actually bigger than I could afford as I had to pass up on three other 7-inches: the Eton Rifles by the Jam, One Love by the Stone Roses (I already had it on 12″ but considered picking up the 7″ as well) and Bankrobber by the Clash. I believe the Eton Rifles is still there.
I remember this big find because of the accident it was. I am a firm believer in paying off the Goddess of Chance and Chaos, Eris. “Big Finds” always cost you more than it should and more than you should spend–let that be said by someone who started record collecting in the early 2000’s and missed the “this medium is dead” 90’s and the pre-inflation eras before that. I believe it paying Eris off because there is nothing I would choose to support more than randomness. But I also know that one has to continuously buy vinyl at record stores or they will stop carrying them because they are still a niche collector’s item despite annual increasing sales. So I sacrifice when the “big find” comes and finds me: I cut my own hair, I sell books I thought I was going to keep, I stop going to shows and movies and theater productions and going to the bars. I would rather spend it on records.
Accidents or random chance are the most fun aspect of the “big find.” This one happened because of a waitress. She was kind, efficient, and had an aura of good luck about her. I had no intention of walking down to Northside and flipping through the records. At the time, I had already overspent my record budget and was trying to resist the siren’s call. But as I handed her my card to pay the bill, I just blurted out “Yea, it is time to go record shopping.” She smiled and asked me what type of music I listened to and I am pretty sure I just stuttered an incomplete sentence or a non-existent genre. She took my card while I put on my heavy coat, gloves and scarf. Then I walked outside and could have went home. But I didn’t. I felt I would have been dishonest and there was something positive about her that seemed to have infected my feet because I had already walked past my house and I had just enough change in my coat pocket to ride the bus back. I was going record shopping.
I stopped at my first location and there were plenty of used goods in the recently arrival bins. Nothing that was going to make me break my pact–only a record on my list of 120 must owns would do it. I considered leaving. I thought: it has been a while since you’ve checked the 7-inches. I thought: It has been a while since you saw anything new. I thought: There looks like there is a new row that has never been there before. I thought: The first album is Slade’s My Oh My. I thought: Here are some Bauhaus records. Let’s keep digging. I thought: Holy —————————————————————–!
My heart began palpitating when I saw a Buzzcock’s single I already owned. When I found Love You More and Everybody’s Happy Nowadays I already considered it a “big find.” I never ever thought I would see one in person. I used to stare at the back of Singles Going Steady and dream of holding each one in my hand. Suddenly, two were in my hand. Behind that was Pay to Cum! Shrinkwrapped. Could it be an original? I dismissed that idea even though I yearned for some strange miracle. Then I came to the Fall’s Rowche Rumble. This technically was not on my 120-list even though plenty of Fall singles are. Part of that is I have the deluxe reissue of Dragnet and therefore have the song on wax. Part of it was I never even entertained seeing one like I did with the Buzzcocks.
It was also the most expensive.
It also sounds the best.
I went back and told the waitress she was good luck. She said thanks and you’re welcome. But I just wanted to say thanks again.