Monday, 29 April 2013

The fair came to town.

So a new opportunity for some record browsing came up yesterday. A record fair was in Belfast, in the Oh Yeah music center. I've never actually been to a record fair. When I was much younger my family used to love going to such events that were held in the now defunct Maysfield Leisure center. Sadly, these fairs predated my music listening by a few years. They sound like my idea of heaven now though. Flicking through racks upon racks of old records and that thrill when you stumble across a hidden gem. It's a feeling I personally adore when I'm in the usual record stores even. The fair today though did bring back childhood memories of going around an old record shop called Dougie Knight's with my dad, which has now closed down. He could spend hours in there I'm telling you. The funny thing being - it used to annoy me. Looking back, when I think of the amount of records I could buy in there now if it was still open...

Anyway, the Oh Yeah center is well placed to hold such an event. It has become one of the most exciting projects in Northern Ireland in recent years. Their mission statement being to "Open Doors To Music Potential". Considering the variety of events and exhibitions it holds, it's fulfilling its mission statement and more. It has received investment from a variety of organizations. One of these has a strong link to one of my favorite artists too. Two of the rehearsal rooms were created in partnership with Strummerville (the charity set up in memory of Joe Strummer) and are decorated in pictures of him and the like. I didn't get to see them yesterday however. Anyhow, there was really interesting local music memorabilia in the downstairs part (where the fair was situated), including signed Stiff Little Fingers LPs, which appeals to repressed 70s punk in me. A very informative timeline also detailed major releases by local artists over the years. Just looking at it yesterday made me realize that Northern Ireland has a vibrant music scene that it doesn't get enough credit for. I just wish that we'd concentrate more on that side of Northern Ireland rather than our complex political situation.

I digress though- the actual fair was very impressive and it comes highly recommended! A lot of people seemed to agree with me, the place is absolutely bunged the whole time I was there (which must have been nearly an hour). No joke, I literally did stumble over a few people which can only be a good thing. The variety of records was great too Also, there was a ton of vinyl racks in a wide variety of genres which will satisfy those of you who collect vinyl. I did find Clash City Rockers by The Clash  on 7" (the song itself was actually playing when I found it ironically too) . A pointless purchase it would have been though because I have their complete singles boxset on CD. Come to think of it there was a lot of punk stuff at the fair. Particularly of Sex Pistols but there was a fair deal of Clash stuff too. I have all the official Clash CDs though so none of it was new to me. A lot of Ramones also but I'm not clued up enough on them yet to just buy their albums at will.

It's very common to go to these sorts of places with a record in mind. My mission yesterday was simple:  to find Joe Strummer's Earthquake Weather album. I was hoping to find the little gem because like I said earlier, there was quite a lot of punk records. Alias, no such luck - but that album is pretty rare. I would have been very surprised if I found that actually. I did find the first Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros album though but I want to get the remastered edition so I just left it.

That's not to say I didn't find some gems though, far from it actually. I bought six CDs and they were all great quality. The Beatles' Revolver looks brand new and was considerably cheaper than usual. I had been after that Madonna DVD/CD set for years also, and I had wanted greatest hits of both The Velvet Underground  and John Lennon for a while also. I honestly didn't expect to end up with as much as what I did. I had decided that if I didn't spend much money at the fair I would go to Head and pick up Depeche Mode's new album and the new reissue of Electronic's self titled debut. In the end I couldn't do that - I didn't have enough left over. And the six CDs I bought weren't the only ones I was considering.  There was also a few albums I very nearly purchased by M83 & Depeche Mode but I did have to leave something for others to buy, didn't I?

All in all though I'm very pleased with what I found and I eagerly await the next fair. This is the sort of thing I really urge local music fans to fully get behind and support. There's not many places in obtain records in Northern Ireland and it's imperative that we do our utmost to help maintain the opportunities we have.

No comments:

Post a Comment