"Listen to the ups and downs,
Listen to the sound they make.
Don’t be scared when it gets loud,
When your skin begins to shake."
Every town should have an indie record store. Why isn’t this a law already? In my teens/early twenties, mine was the glorious Rock Box in Camberley. Every Saturday morning was spent there. And very many Mondays (record release day), if I could hitch a lift in my friend Chris’ Mini during school lunch-time.
At a guess, I’d say about a quarter of the records I write about here were bought in that vinyl treasure trove. You can always tell which ones, as the owner would pencil the price on the inside of the sleeves. You could usually pick up an album for £3.49, a 12-inch for £1.99 and singles for 99p – a little bit of historical context for you there.
As with all the best indie record stores, it was situated on a street where none of the big shops wanted to be. The Top 40 atrocities of Our Price sat gleaming away in the pedestrianised shopping arcade, while the Rock Box needed to be sought out on a back road, between the rundown carpet store and the boarded-up dry cleaners. To me, it seemed as magical as the TARDIS in the way such a plain and small shopfront could house so many wonders inside and take you on so many musical journeys.
I’d head down there for a Bunnymen album, and come out with a Fall white vinyl german import, a Mission box set, a Primitives T-shirt, a Cure In Orange billboard-sized poster, some Siouxsie Sioux postcards, and a Smiths badge set. Bliss.
For a few days in 1989, it even inspired me to open my own record store when I left school. That never happened. But I did use the Rock Box as a case study for my A-level Industrial Studies project that year – must dig that out some time. A quick Google search tells me the Rock Box is still there, and long may it run. I’d like to think I'll pop back in some time and find the vinyl version of The Fall’s ’Grotesque’ that’s always eluded me.