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Dansing in the Street

Retro is as retro does. Having returned to vinyl several years ago, there was one more challenge to face.

Back in May 2021, I excitedly ordered Future Past (three times) in a whirl of adrenalin-fuelled midnight online clicking on pre-release day. I went to bed, and woke up to find various emails detailing a reduction in my bank balance… and then nothing. I forgot what I’d bought, and they arrived in dribs and drabs over a two week period in October (though thankfully one was on time).

This time round, Danse Macabre pre-release day was only two months ago in August, with some tasty choices on coloured vinyl. But you had to keep chasing the offers around various websites, never quite sure that you’d either bought them all, or if a preferred 'exclusive' vinyl option might turn up the next day.

It all got a bit bewildering, and so I rejected the online melee.

I decided to go old-school, and to buy Danse Macabre from a shop.

Three days before the release day, I noted the emails flying around apologising for various deliveries being late. And then I woke up on Friday 27th October, and headed to the high street.

Reader, I didn’t camp out at midnight to be first in line, nor did I pace around the precinct at 8.55am waiting for the doors to open. But then I don’t even remember doing that ‘back in the day’.

In fact, I only remember buying Duran albums on release day twice. Once was Big Thing (shout out to Our Price in Canterbury). I then had to endure the bus ride home with the garish gatefold sleeve being the ‘envy’ of various school blazers and ties. There were, perhaps unkind, ‘literary appreciation’ of the lyrics to the title track, which caused much mirth.

The other was the Wedding Album CD, as I walked past a store in the Victoria Centre, Nottingham, on the way to college every day. The idea of buying multiple copies back then would have been just weird.

This time around I made my way in to my local HMV at 11ish hoping to see large posters for Danse Macabre, bedecked in spooky Hallowe’en finery. What I walked into was a huge Barbie DVD stand, and then, further back in the store, lots of Taylor Swift.

Fair play to Ms Swift – I saw her before I saw her records. It took a bit of searching to find the curious little black squares that told me I was in the presence of Danse Macabre (see main photo above). I actually walked past it. To be fair, this contrasted with the appalled horror I experienced when confronted with an array of fluorescent Big Thing LPs in 1988.

I was only going to buy the CD, but the ONE vinyl copy looked lonely. Maybe the rest got sold quickly (before 11am?). For the record, the CD was £10.99 and the LP was £30.99. Not sure how this compares to online, but I did my own shipping. It was also unclear what colour the vinyl was. [Spoiler: It turned out to be black. Which seems fitting.]

Suitably armed, I went up to the till to pay (that’s ‘click here to check out your basket’ for our younger viewers). I asked the nice young man whether he had any promo material.

“No mate, it’s all Taylor Swift right now,” he said sorrowfully, seeing my crestfallen face. He gave me an HMV bag for free.

I walked back home (LPs and bicycles are not a good combination). I noted that I was actually back before the postie had delivered any letters - the old ways were working! I carefully tore open the cellophane, saving the sticker that told me in VERY small letters that Andy (and Warren) was back.

Despite sunshine streaming through the windows at lunchtime, I pretended I was in a spooky mood. Nightboat started. I settled down with a cup of tea. Then Simon started to sing in a horrendous drawl. I had incorrectly put the LP on 33RPM.

Going retro doesn’t always work.


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