There are some rites of passage that you should never miss. Your first ride on a train or bus, your first trip to the seaside, your first drive, your first pint. And buying your first record.
OK, times moved on and that beautiful black vinyl was replaced by a shiny silver CD, but there was still that moment when you handed over your cash and had that musical memento in your hands.
The first record I ever bought was Last Christmas, by Wham. I’d saved up my pocket money and couldn’t wait for school to finish to buy it on the way home.
I remember heading to WH Smiths in the Pentagon Centre, browsing the shelves for my prize and heading to the till. The lady handed me back my single in a little blue bag and I proudly carried it back on the bus, itching to get home to play it.
I didn’t have my own record player, which was probably a good thing otherwise I’d have had the thing on a permanent loop. Instead, I sat in the lounge with the headphones on, singing along as best I could, or until my brother told me to pipe down.
Little did I know that it was the start of a long love affair with George Michael, and that one day I’d be sat watching him perform his 25th anniversary tour. Now I really do feel old.
The ever-rising popularity of downloads means some teenagers will never know what it’s like to while away several hours in a record store, examining the album cover, turning it over and over in your hands, selecting and re-selecting until you make your final choice.
With the loss of stores like HMV from our High Streets, it will never be the same. There won’t be the opportunity to open up old record boxes and rediscover the long lost gems of Luther Vandross and Alexander O’Neal.
Mind you, there’d also be no chance of discovering the things my nan bought me as a kid, like In The Brownies and Christmas in Smurfland. I really must turn my loft out one day and destroy the evidence.