Monday, 15 August 2011

The Hour in Kingston

Something terrible has just happened. Something that any regular user of Spotify Open will tell you is the worst possible thing to happen. I have run out of minutes. Some people reading this will be asking, “Why are you using Spotify when you can illegally download for free?” I’ll tell you why. I am upstanding member of society. I like to set an example. I want to be the model citizen. I can, just about, understand the mentality of people who illegally download music and then go out and purchase said music. However, I simply use Spotify for this function.

I had recently stored up to 20 hours worth of listening time. I rationed my Spotify time like I was in some kind of war that rendered Spotify minutes the most important commodity available. I had, however, dwindled these minutes away recently after discovering two albums, Coastal Grooves by Blood Orange and Sbtrkt by SBTRKT. Upon using up all my listening hours, the time had thus come to purchase these two albums.

My planned sojourn into Kingston to purchase these albums took a twist though. My dad was in his room reading the newspapers just before he was about to go to bed and he asked me to look up whether the album Electric Warrior by T-Rex was available to purchase anywhere. I duly checked and informed him it was only a tenner in HMV and I told him I was going to Kingston the next day to buy some CD’s so I said I’d pick it up for him.

So, the time had come. I decided against my better judgement to walk into Kingston. I had recently stumbled upon a shortcut into Kingston so I followed this new, brave path to reach my destination. It was exciting. It was fun. It was new. Within 15 or so minutes I had reached the outskirts of Kingston and I noticed a road name that I had never previously seen. Splashwater Close. I’m sure there’s a joke to be made somewhere there.

Soon enough I was in HMV. I hadn’t been into HMV recently yet I wasn’t at all suprised to see that it had changed its layout yet again. That seems to be the main problem of HMV, it never has a settled layout. I thought it brilliant I didn’t manage to get lost. I had managed to find the two albums I was after in decent enough time which left the elusive CD that my dad was after.

After ten minutes I was going mad. This CD was so bloody elusive. In the ‘Rock and Pop’ section they stocked a few T-Rex albums apart from the one my Dad was after despite his assurances that this particular album is a “classic”. I very much doubt this statement. I began to search high and low. Literally. I even begun looking in the ‘Soul’, ‘Dance’ and even the ‘Metal’ section. It was clear I had lost the plot as I started marching around HMV like a deluded maniac. I eventually gave up.

I had paid for my purchases and decided to walk home the traditional way via a stop at Greggs. On the corner of the street there were some large, afro-caribbean guys handing out hip hop CD’s. Or at least I thought they were. One of the group handed a CD to me proclaiming they were “14 tracks of pure, old school hip hop”. Ok, I don’t particularly love hip hop that much but seeing as it was free, who am I to turn down 14 tracks of pure, old school hip hop?

I went to grab the CD and asked, as is polite, “Is it free?” I began to notice the man tightly grab the CD that I now appeared to be trying to steal from his hand. “No, you need to make a donation”. A donation? That’s a slightly odd way of asking for money. I personally donate money to UNICEF but I’m not exactly in the business of donating money to the Kingston hip-hop community. I don’t see it as being that worthy a cause. I began to walk away and then one of the other men said something almost inaudible so I promptly laughed and said “ok”. That seemed to do the trick. It’s always the safest thing to do when you can’t understand someone.

I walked into Greggs and began to try and work out what he said. When I got up to the counter I had indeed cracked what he had said. I believe he said “I’ll pop you for that”. I now know that I’ll need to be very wary and on my guard whenever I am around members of the Kingston hip-hop community.

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