World Record Store Day was born in 2007 in America, as a way of celebrating independent record stores. From the start it was conceived as a worldwide party, with in-store gigs and special releases, and three years on I think one can safely say it has become established. And one of the things I loved most about it was the atmosphere – this is not a ‘scene’ event. People were there on their own, with friends, partners, families. I saw more than one toddler proudly sporting a ‘Rough Trade World Record Store Day’ badge and got chatting to a woman at Pure Groove who had rushed down from a Christening, no less, with her teenage sons to ensure they caught as much of the day as possible. Arriving at Rough Trade soon after 11, I was slightly perturbed by the size of the queue – I guess the realisation that it would be busy probably should have crossed my mind. Nevertheless, many people were simply there to spend money, so the queue was moving fairly fast, especially as by that stage most of the really sought-after stuff had already gone – I saw several disgruntled faces and heard snatches of more than a few conversations along the lines of ‘How did they only have 6 copies?!’. By the time I got in, the stage was being set-up for Caribou. This took a good deal longer than expected due to sound issues, but Daniel Snaith was very polite and apologised repeatedly, thanking us for waiting when they were finally ready to start. Their set was astounding – full of energy, full of life, full of noise... Not quite enough to get people moshing in-store at 12 on a Saturday, but they came damn close. Their final song finished with an astounding drum duet by Daniel and Brad Weber who stayed absolutely in time with each other for what was probably only a couple of minutes, but seemed like hours. A stunning end to a fantastic set. Time to shop. I have only recently obtained a record player so I was anxious to add to my growing collection of 7in (most of which I bought before the player, mainly on the cover art). I wasn’t that interested in spending vast amounts of money on limited edition Record Store Day tracks, but I did pick up the Sparklehorse/Dangermouse 7in (RIP Mark Linkous…) and one by Eli Paperboy Reed And The True Loves which was cheap and looked as though it might be worth a listen. Next to the tills there were stacks of CDs, including a Rough Trade White Denim mix and a Fever Ray mixtape. A few people were milling around by them, looking slightly confused – not sure why the staff weren’t keeping an eye on them but also unwilling to get thrown out for shoplifting. Finally, one girl plucked up the courage to ask, and upon finding they were free, we all dug in (clearly starting a trend as about ½ hour later they’d all but disappeared). Fyfe Dangerfield and Coco Sumner took to the stage between Caribou and Laurie Anderson, to play a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’. It was acoustic, it was laid back, it was perfect for a sunny, Saturday afternoon, and left me desperate to sit in the sun for a bit. Sadly, that wasn’t an option, unless I wanted to rejoin the queue. No, not for a cigarette. Not even if I bought a coffee from Rough Trade and wanted to drink it outside. Which was a little bit frustrating, I have to admit. Next up, Laurie Anderson, who I have to admit I was more than a little excited about seeing (I think ‘O Superman’ is an utterly fantastic track). However, just after 2pm she skulked onto the stage, in male drag complete with moustache and one huge eyebrow, to do a Q&A on subjects that included space and life after death, but didn’t touch on her music at all (apart from when she played a 30second clip from her new single). I’m not saying it wasn’t entertaining, and she was well received by the audience, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed – which wasn’t helped by the fact that she spent a large part of the session berating the sound guy for not getting the microphone filters right (she had it set up to make her sound like a man). When this was over, I decided against sticking around for the signing, and headed off to Pure Groove, where the party was in full swing. Ok, it does have the advantage of an alcohol licence, but it also has nice, squishy sofas, bunting, a more intimate stage and just a nicer vibe in general. In a moment of genius, they had decided to hold a music quiz to determine who would get their hands on the coveted Blur release, to try and ensure that it would go to the people who really wanted it, rather than the people who went straight home and put it on ebay for £200. This was starting just as I arrived, and the place was rammed, so I grabbed some Kingston Black (cider, for all you philistines out there) and took it outside to drink in the sun – no restrictions or security guards here. While no free CDs, Pure Groove did have boxes and boxes of 7in for 20p each. After a few more pints of cider, I found myself with 25 of these, and had to buy a bag to put them in (good marketing there, by the way). Chosen mostly on the cover art again, I’ll admit, and I’m sure there are many that I’ll never get around to listening to, but I have a blank wall in my room and £5 for a whole wall’s worth of decorating isn’t half bad, in my opinion. I also bought the Editors release (something Rough Trade had sold out of) and put my name down for a raffle to win the Beatles release (which I assume I didn’t). Following the quiz, the bar emptied out and I was able to amble around, looking at things, spending money and generally just having a fantastic day. Bombay Bicycle Club were due on at 6, and although I’ve heard a lot about them I hadn’t listened to their music, so I was anxious to see what they were like. Cleverly scheduled to give people enough time to get to Farringdon after Ash finished at Rough Trade, the venue was bursting at the seams by the time they took the stage. Bombay Bicycle Club were the perfect band for Pure Groove. The venue is small, but even when it’s rammed it’s still light and airy, and miles away from a dark, dingy pub – a must when you’re seeing bands during the day. Seated on the stage, they played an upbeat, poppy set that put me in mind of the Mystery Jets. They engaged well with the crowd and seemed to be really enjoying themselves – a key ingredient for a good set. All in all, I had a fantastic day. Lots of cider, lots of sunshine, lots of live music and lots of shopping. Who could ask for more? I did, however, learn a very important lesson that I am now going to share with you in the hope that it will one day enrich your life. If you ask a barman if he’d like to get a drink with you sometime, and he says yes, it is imperative that you leave the pub at this stage. Staying, drinking more cider, falling asleep on a sofa and being asked to leave will likely change his mind. And that, my friends, is the real lesson of World Record Store Day. What say you on this? Sound off in our Fourum!