We know what the records were… in my case, whatever John Peel had played the previous week that took my fancy that would also would win me credibility points with punky Clare.
No, this is about the possession, the storage and the transportation of those little slices of vinyl, which defined you.
At home, I did have the record cases that you could buy at Boots. It was a great thing to ask your Nan to get you for Christmas, because she could understand what you meant – unlike if you said something like, ‘please would you get me the new EP by Half Man Half Biscuit, Nan?’
It held 25 seven inch records, but if any of them had thick sleeves, or no sleeves, you could get a different result. After a year of forcing too much vinyl in, the case would ineveitably break, revealing that it was actually made from cardboard covered with PVC.
I never actually carried any of these cases around, because then you’d look like a Northern Soul fan. No, there was only two ways to carry punk records:
- You could carry just one or two records in a carrier bag from the nearest proper record shop – not WH Smiths, obviously.
or… and this is so much better – a practice borrowed from the Led Zeppelin contingent:
2. Walk to your friend’s house carrying just the album that has come out this week – in your hands with no bag.
There’s no stock pictures on the Internet of anyone – punk or rocker walking down the road carrying an important album. Like this:
so I will just have to rekindle that image for you. Basically, you hold the LP under your arm in a cool way, with the front showing to anyone else who happened to be in the know.
As you walked, you would get nods of approval, people saying ‘cool’, ‘great album’, ‘good taste’ – and if they didn’t actually do that, I felt that they wanted to.
In the age before insta – that was our version of ‘likes’.