Harkive 2016 – The Final Countdown -10 days to go

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On Tuesday 19th July Harkive will return for its fourth year to once again collect stories online from people about the detail of their music listening experience.

The project asks people to tell the tale of How, Where and Why they listen to music on a single day each year, with the aim of capturing for posterity a snapshot of the way in which we interact with the sounds and technology of today. Since launching in 2013 the project has gathered over 8,000 stories, and on Tuesday 19th July we’ll be doing it all again. We hope you’ll join us by telling Harkive your story.

Today we’re starting the final countdown to Harkive 2016. As we have done in previous years, in the run up to the big day we’ll be posting some ‘example’ stories from people who do interesting things with their music listening.

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Kicking things off for 2016 is Rebecca Garnham, aka CarBootVinylDiaries, a music-obsessive who loves looking for vinyl bargains at the car boot sales and charity shops along her local Suffolk coast. Rebecca blogs and tweets her experiences with vinyl hunting, and also uses the records she buys as the basis for her regular Mixcloud podcasts, during which we find out a little more about where each record came from.

Rebecca kindly agreed to write an example story for Harkive 2016 by keeping a record of her experience on Sunday 3rd July. Having done so, she then emailed the story to us, which is one of the many ways you can tell your own story on 19th July. Here is her story.    

It’s the best day of the week: Sunday, which means it’s car boot day.  Radio 2 is on in the car as we set off (there’s not much point having an in-car DAB radio here in the sticks or it’d be 6 Music) and Claire Balding has gospel singer Carroll Thompson as a guest, who sings something called When We Are As One.  As we arrive at the first boot sale Claire’s playing Jason Donovan’s Any Dream Will Do, which remains stuck in my head as we go round.

It’s a sunny July day and there are plenty of sellers.  A guy has a load of LPs priced at £4 each.  I fancy a few of them but their condition is only VG (Very Good i.e. with light marks) and he agrees to sell me three for a tenner.  I come away with albums by Ian Dury, XTC and the Doors, two of them doubles.  A great start.  He also shows me a few albums he has for £10 but I’m not interested as they’re pretty common and rather overpriced for what they are.

Next I visit the stall of a chap I buy from regularly, earning me a nice discount on my purchases, which today include albums by the Stones, Van Morrison and Traffic.  He chucks in an Elton John one I’d passed on due to a couple of scratches, saying I can have it for nothing to tide me over until I find a better copy!  He also tells me that the £10 LPs being sold across the way by the previous chap were his; he’d sold them to him earlier in the day for £2 each!  Car boot sales are full of chancers like this, especially since the recent ‘vinyl revival’.  At another stall there’s a box of records with a sign saying “Half marked price”.  The one at the front is a cheap 1980s Otis Redding compilation, which is easy to find for 50p or a pound, but this is labelled £38!  Even with half off this is crazy.  I take a quick lookthrough the rest of the box, only to see common Madonna 12” singles priced £19.  Bonkers.  I’m willing to bet that the stallholder took the whole lot home at the end of the morning.

We buy a set of brand new Coke glasses for two quid, then head north up the coast to the next sale, passing the Latitude festival site, where signs for production staff and those warning of queues next week have appeared along the roadside.  On the radio Jany Lee Grace is filling in for Steve Wright on the Love Songs show, but it’s still the usual bland mix of Luther Vandross, Wet Wet Wet and Emeli Sandé.

Another bustling boot sale, and I grab a few more records, including a Wombles Christmas LP and an Ink Spots 78rpm.  By now the sun is high and there are plenty of records gently warping in the heat, especially those spread out on the ground – a nice way to display them, but terribly damaging.   In the car on the way home I can’t help singing along to Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb’s duet Guilty from the album of the same name.  The LPwas a huge seller in 1980 and is a car boot perennial; indeed I spotted a copy this morning.

Back home I quickly tune in to the remainder of a great show called Charity Shop Classics on Manchester’s community station All FM, which I listen to via the internet with my laptop connected to the living room stereo.  DJ Gavin has a couple of young guest presenters with him, and they play their favourite charity shop finds including the Damned’s Eloise and Cocoanut Woman by Harry Belafonte.  I played a 78rpm of the latter a few weeks ago on my Mixcloud show, Car Boot Vinyl Diaries.  I enjoy a post-car boot bacon sarnie and cuppa while Gavin finishes his show with one of my favourite Bob Dylan songs; Black Diamond Bay from Desire.

I don’t file away records I’ve bought until I’ve listened to them three times, and I’ve a bit of a backlog to get through, so I put on a compilation called Sound D’Afrique II – ‘Soukous’while I write down the day’s finds and take some pics of them for my blog and Twitter.   Thelovely shimmering guitars and effortless polyrhythms are perfect for this summer day.  The sun promptly goes in.  After this I clean a few records in the kitchen whilst listening to some of the new Bat For Lashes album on Spotify via my tablet.  The rest of the afternoon is spent lounging around and listening to some more of the vinyl backlog; Deep Purple’s Machine Head and Disc 1 of Derek and the Dominos In Concert.  After a nap I have a quick soak in the tub, with 6 Music on the solar DAB we keep on the bathroom window sill.  Leila Moss is filling in for Jarvis Cocker on the Sunday Service, and in the space of 15 minutes I hear Rocket From The Crypt, Alice Coltrane and Cass McCombs, and it dawns on me that this diversity is what I crave, perhaps explaining why I like the randomness of car boot record-hunting so much.

There’s time for a record before dinner, so I play my new Ian Dury LP, New Boot & Panties.  At VG it sounds a million times better than the 50p copy I had to throw out recently, which turned out to be SLAB (Skips Like A Bastard).   After dinner I listen to Beyoncé’s Lemonade, on headphones from a file on my laptop ripped from the CD.   I’m definitely an album person, not a playlister or shuffler.  I tweet my day’s finds and have a few related chats on Twitter, then listen to Dylan’s Street-Legal album, also off the laptop through ‘phones.  I’d seen a vinyl copy this morning, but sadly it was STF (Scratched To Fuck), along with several other great albums including a horribly warped Harvest.  Heartbreaking!

Before bed I play the last track from Street-Legal again – the magnificent Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat).  Despite this, it’s Babs’ and Barry’s Guilty that’s whirling through my head as I fall asleep.

If you enjoyed this example and would like to tell your Harkive story in a similar way, you can do so by emailing submit@harkive.org on or after 19th July with the tale of your listening day, writing as much or as little as you want. If email is not your thing, you can contribute your story in a number of other ways too, such as by Tweeting with the hashtag #harkive, posting something to the Harkive page on Facebook, or by adding stories and images to Tumbr and Instagram – just remember to add the hashtag #harkive. More information on the ways in which you can tell your story are on the How To Contribute page.

Harkive 2016 is just 10 days away. We do hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 19th July by telling us the story of your listening day. If Harkive sounds interesting, please do help us spread the word by telling your friends about the project. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the project by following us on Twitter, or by liking our Facebook page. If you have any question about the project please feel free to email us.

Thanks again to Rebecca for her fantastic story. We’ll have another one for you tomorrow as the Harkive 2016 countdown continues.