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Foodie Rich – Off the Food and On the Record!
We are in the midst of a revolution! No no, it’s not the wonderful craft beer movement which I love so much, nor is it a new food trend I need to encourage you all to get involved with. Strangely this has nothing at all to do with food; it’s completely un-edible. WTF I hear you cry! If I can’t eat it or drink it I aint interested, and why the hell is ‘Foodie’ Rich writing about it. But please, stick with me on this, this is a subject close to all our hearts I’m sure. I’m talking music and good old vinyl. More of a revival than a revolution I suppose, record sales are on the up, and continue to rise!
Let me explain why I wanted to give food a miss this week, and put pen to paper about vinyl? Vinyl was a passion of mine long before food. Don’t get me wrong, I liked food back in the early ninety’s, but it wasn’t so much of a passion, more of a necessity. A pre-club ‘pasta and pizza special’ from Mumma Mia’s was about as close to gourmet dining as I got. Back then, it was all about the music
I was a wanna be DJ. Got my first decks back in ’93 and that was it, I was bitten by the bug. Lou and I had been dating for a year. Most weekends would be spent sitting in Vinyl Rhythm or Basement records in Southend spending my well earnt YTS wages on drum and bass records! When I was particularly flush, we would take the long trip up the A127 in my old dented and scratched mk2 Fiesta heading to Romford; why? Romford was home to THE drum and bass record store of the day, the legendary ‘Boogie Times’. What a place! Run by the then famous ‘Boogie Times Tribe’, here you would often bump in to the icons of the day. It wasn’t uncommon to see DJ hype or Danny Breaks working behind the counter. Ok ok, not everyone reading this will know who the hell I’m talking about, but these guys were my DJ’ing heroes, and still are really!!
Once I’d spent all my hard earnt dough, it was a quick bite to eat in McDonalds, then back to my bedroom and the decks. Plastered in rave flyers, my bedroom was where the magic happened! Dreaming I would be the next DJ Slipmatt or Andy C, I would spend hours mixing, scratching, and recording mix tapes; gosh the memories are flooding back. World Dance, Helter Skelter, Dreamscape; I wanted to appear on the bill of them all. I was even part of a Pirate Radio Station! Yep, me and a few ‘Fellow DJ’s’ clubbed together and got ourselves a highly illegal FM transmitter. With our top secret ‘Studio’ in Hockley, at weekends we would punish the airwaves with hardcore drum and bass! I think our rather weak signal barely reached Rayleigh; but we were bringing underground music to masses; or so we thought!
What about the clubbing? I wasn’t interested in the main stream, Tots wasn’t really my thing. Although I did go when I got tickets through the post for my birthday! Who remembers the Palace hotel before its big makeover? It was a proper shit hole, but perfect for rave nights. I went to many an event there. Once a month, Basement records would host an epic drum and bass night. Dressed in my baggy jeans and ‘Hardercore Designs’ bomber jacket we would Just loose ourselves in the music. The internationally famous ‘Renaissance’ even put on a few nights. Classic deep house and trance was the order of the day; I’ve fond memories of those nights. How could I not mention Coca Cuba? Those flamboyant events were awesome; you could just be who the hell you wanted to be, no one cared! Perfect Virtue in the 90’s was my first real introduction to house music. I remember a smoke filled club, I could barely see my hand in front of my face, it was immense. I suppose that was a turning point for me, as I started spinning more house tunes after that.
Time moves on though. Lou and I grew older, our priorities changed, and my beloved Technics 1210’s lay dormant in our spare bedroom. Those record shops where I’d spent weekend after weekend disappeared. I’m pretty certain Basement records is now where Legend Deli is situated? Not a bad swap really! I stopped reading DJ magazine, and that era in my life seemed over. Lou and I bought a house and my weekends were now spent decorating and gardening. No more were Saturday afternoons spent in record shops; it was now Homebase and B&Q! As I looked on from the side-lines, I didn’t like what I saw. DJ’s were mixing CD’s; yeah, I know bloody CD’s. As time and technology took a hold on the industry, digital came in to force. No more would a DJ carry an incredibly heavy box of vinyl in to a club, they’d just wander in with a MacBook Air. What’s happened, where’s the skill in that? I guess time moves on. To my disappointed, I grew accustomed to the fact, no one wanted vinyl anymore; it was dead. I kid you not, I came so close to taking my decks and records to a boot sale; I mean what’s the point in keeping them? They’re now archaic, and now it feels, so am I. Vinyl wasn’t cool anymore. I needed to stop living in the past and move on. So, for the past 15 years or so I just got on with it and succumbed to the digital age. My music is now being played via Spotify on a Bluetooth speaker; where’s the romance and fun in that?
With all that said, things are thankfully changing. To my excitement records are making a comeback. Vinyl is having a second wind. it’s back with a vengeance, and the stats don’t lie. Apparently, vinyl sales are now at their highest level since the early nineties. They will soon be outselling digital; Bravo I say!! The glory days are back! Once again, I’m spending far too much money in places such as South Records in Southend and Fives in Leigh. The annual ‘Record Store Day’ is now the biggest day in my calendar; it’s more important to me than Christmas! This year, I was in Amsterdam for this very special day, and found an awesome record store called Concerto. It was huge! I could’ve spent hours in here. On multiple floors, there was vinyl of all genres everywhere. At one end of the shop was a row of decks. Just peruse the countless racks of vinyl, pick out a few choice titles, and try before you buy on one of the many record decks.
It now goes with out saying, my once dusty old faithful Technics 1210’s are back to their former glory, and my record collection has started to grow again. Lou and I have been teleported back to the early nineties, back to when we’d just started dating! We are back in those record shops and having one hell of a time. My old drum and bass, house and hip-hop records are being played once again. After a few too many on a Saturday night, its all back to ours where DJ Foodie Rich gets on the ones and two’s and mixes up a storm! So, people, it’s time to ditch digital, and get back to ya roots. Dust down your old vinyl and get spinning those tunes again. If you’re like me, it will give a new lease of life, and take you right back to the day! And remember, support your local record store; we need this vinyl revival to grow and grow!