Record store

When I was about twelve or thirteen, a new record shop was opened in my hometown. Before that we’d had to buy our records from either the supermarket (which had a pitiful variety of music) or go to Sweden, to our neighbouring town of Haparanda, where there was a dedicated store.

So the store opened and the owner was a guy who I already were sort of familiar with, because he was with the local DJ company as a lighting tech. The store was on the basement floor of the mall and the first record I bought there was Maggie Reilly’s album Echoes. It was a start of a wonderful friendship, let me tell you.

When the store moved to ground floor after a couple of years, I started to really hang around in there and got friendly with the owner. I mean I would just go there and talk, not even buy anything. I would listen to a lot of albums and just spend time in there. I wasn’t one of the popular kids, as I’ve told you a million times in a million stories, so I had a lot of time to spend elsewhere than parties and such. By the time I was sixteen, making some money of my own, I was buying a lot of records. Whatever he didn’t have in and I wanted, he would order. I bought a lot of U2 records, the back catalogue that I didn’t have at the time and I made my love for the band so clear that I was nicknamed just U2. I would call the owner and introduce myself as U2 and he would know who I was. I even used my first debit card ever the first time ever there, on purpose and he made it a spectacle to the amusement of not just me and him, but also every other patron in there at the time. He even signed the receipt “U2” so I wouldn’t have to (yes there were times when you had to sign a receipt and not just punch in pincodes, i know, try to understand this was the dark ages with dragons and inquisition).

By the time I was nineteen and still hanging about in the store (i know, i was a complete geek), U2 came out with Pop. The owner ordered in every one of the singles released in every version he could get his hands on, stacking them behind the counter for me to pick up. If I didn’t have money at the moment he would write my purchases down and I would pay him later. I was that frequent of a customer.

It was a magical time and I have only later realized how special of a place it was for me. I miss those days a lot. But they came to an end because people basically stopped buying physical copies of music and instead started downloading it. That was the end of my record store, much like it must’ve been for a lot of record stores in Finland and indeed around the world.

But it was my world, my happy place, my salvation from a lot of gloomy days I would’ve spent on my own.

And I miss it. A lot.

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