My local vinyl record store, Empire Records, is one of the places where I first started reading my poetic creations. It was the place where it didn’t matter what you had to say and I discovered, with my hands shaking so much that the white pages before my eyes impressed the sensation of double vision on several occasions, that people actually seemed to enjoy what they were hearing.
Sadly, the events stopped due to one thing or another, and I lost the platform on my doorstep and the comfort of performing to regulars. Even more sadly, Derek, the store’s owner and the most quietly cool dude I have had the pleasure of meeting, lost his life to cancer earlier on this year. He was so kind towards me and my awful nerves. His fantastic record shop is still going strong, showcasing the very best vinyl and occasionally inviting musicians to play live in-store, from the likes of the folk songsters, Dodo Bones to punk’s compassionate angry man, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.
So, you always wonder what you can do to make something better in eventualities like these. Nothing really, words are not usually going to make much of a difference, albeit offer some comfort to those who bear these losses, but you do want to do something.
It’s not much, but today I went into the shop with my words, in the form of a box of copies of The Will To Gig, my new mini anthology of rocking poems and popped them on the counter next to the Mount Vernon Hospital collection box, inviting customers to take a copy in exchange for a fund-raising donation for the pot.
So, if you are passing Empire, pop in and grab a copy. Thanks everyone.