#1056: 1969, Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now

by Ray_North on January 9, 2016

There I was, a couple of weeks before Christmas, wandering down the road near my place of work, it was about 11am and the town was just starting to get busy with the mass-hysteria of pre-Christmas shopping.

And that’s when I saw it.

Scorpio Records.

A new independent record shop, selling not only vinyl records but reconstituted guitars and original comics. I can honestly say that few things in recent years have made me more excited. I skipped down the few steps that led to the wonderfully basic shop. A bloke with a beard, I later discovered was called Ian, stood behind the counter. He eyed me suspiciously, and I don’t blame him, wearing my barristers three piece suit, I hardly looked like the clientele he was hoping to attract.

I noticed that he was playing Sound Effects by the Jam and started to finger his collection of second hand vinyl – true, he wasn’t offering the most extensive collection, but that didn’t matter, I knew that Ian cared, I knew that the bloke in the Pink Floyd t-shirt opposite me, holding a Steeleye Dan LP cared, I knew that the spotty teenager and his greasy mate getting excited about a Sonic Youth record cared. This shop was a labour of true love and it was only thirty seconds from my work.

I started at ‘A’, Adam and the Ants, Aerosmith, then ‘B’ the Beach Boys, ‘C’ brought me John Coltrane (Ian had yet to distinguish by genre), by U, I had a little eclectic collection of original albums, some good, some weird, some shite, but it didn’t matter I was buying things that were personal and important, things that I had chosen, rather than have foisted upon me by marketing men and cookies and multi-chain conglomerates who see me as a commodity.

I handed my bundle to Ian – ‘Ah,’ he said with an unmistakable tone of surprise, ‘Joni Mitchell. It’s a beautiful piece of work.’
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I can’t wait to go home and put it on my turntable.’

And I couldn’t.

Work finished. I went home. I looked at the cover of the album, a self-portrait of the artist, then I put it on my turntable. Carefully placing the needle on the groove and sat back and listened to Joni. No computers. No downloading. No transient ability to skip a track or randomise, no distraction of thousands of other songs – just me and Joni and the album she wrote and recorded in the year I was born.

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