Listening to yesterday’s Christmas song, I was reminded of a truly insignificant record-buying moment in my youth. 20 years ago, when the death knell for vinyl first rang out, WH Smith still displayed the entire Top 40 singles in four rows of 10 7” singles. It was a wonder. I used to pop in before school on a Monday morning to pick up a latest release or two from the racks below and to perhaps choose a favourite I’d heard on the chart rundown the night before.
This time, I was after Art of Noise’s ‘Close (To The Edit)’ in its shiny white sleeve. I spotted it, must have turned away, turned back again and grabbed it from the shelf, paid and went on my way to assembly. At break I pulled it out of the bag to admire it. There, in a shiny white sleeve, was Kirsty MacColl’s ‘A New England’. My classmate thought she looked “fit”, but I wasn’t happy and exchanged it at lunch. These days, I’m not sure which record I like more.
When Junior’s downloading mp3s to the chip in her right earlobe, these errors will be a thing of the past. Nah, computers stuff up everything. Anyway, I digress.
The Wall of Sound, replete with jingle bells and sparkle, brings the hugest grin to Junior’s face. It’s a song which has all the magic of Christmas with its enchanted snowmen and gambolling in the white streets and gardens, but it also expresses the melancholy when it’s all over. The snow will melt and we’ll go back to school – never fear, though, because Frosty will be back next year.
It’ll be a few more winters before Junior gets excited about this sort of thing. Being a big kid, I’ll just have to do it for her.