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  1.  
    Went to the Bi-annual Glasgow record fair today, as I have done for many years now,
    as this is an off-topic, what are your views on record fairs?
    A great way of meeting fellow music lovers and buying up loads of records or just another money spinning
    opertunaty for wheeler dealers??
    For the record, not many bargains have I encountered on my visits to fairs. But luv the atmosphere and the chance to browse and see what is available.Occasionally you get a record you,ve always been eager to get.
    On the Wire front, picked up an "Outdoor Miner promo 7" for £8 and to me anyway, a fair price of a mint copy of"Comeback in two halves" for £18 on vinyl today, so pretty chuffed. Dealer also said he comes across old tour posters and pins, so quite
    a scoop on the wire front and will e-mail me there availability.
    Most fairs have very little Wire Rarities or oddities available for sale, so on the Wire front suppose it was pretty good.
    On other music items, Bootleg vinyl seems to be growing in popularity again with just about every well known band having at least a couple available and the more popular bands having them into double figures(The Clash,The Ramones, Dylan,
    Springsteen seem to have more than the rest).
    Anyway, out with Wire, bought about 30 Lp,s and over 100 7" singles so away to play and enjoy them.
  2.  
    Good topic!
    I tend to avoid, but then i'm very lucky to live in Manchester which still has an abundance of fine record shops. I'm mostly interested in buying new music anyway and you won't find much of that at record fairs.

    Or can you?.....

    I stopped going to fairs in the late 90s. I found then to be grubby, unpleasant affairs usually held in some grotty municipal hall. A very uninspiring environment in which to buy music. Seemed to be all about collecting rare issues, different sleeves, different bits of text on sleeves (in the case of Beatles collectors) and not about the music.

    But mainly I stopped going because I just used to find I didn't buy anything and in fact couldn't wait to get out of there! My last one I recall, having paid £3 to get in and barely being able to see the records through the smoke...wading through endless boxes full of Bruce Springsteen Bootlegs, Queen posters and Pet Shop Boys Picture Discs looking for something vageuly interesting and a very smelly bloke barged me out of way to enquire of the vendor whether he had "any unusual Olivia Newton John". I've never been to one since!

    Maybe they're moved on and changed since then?

    I can see the attraction, I'm occasionally tempted to go and I bet stefm2 had a grand day...although I tend to buy downloads and CDs these days there is still part of me that is attracted to the romance of a Saturday afternoon and taking home a bag full of old 7"s to play....ah!

    Do you still have to pay to get in to these things? I've never really understood the logic behind that!
  3.  
    not been to one for years, but always loved 'em. problem i found is that not many were in good enough condition to make buying worthwhile! i tend not yo go to them anymore, but where i go on holidays/weekends i find the local 2nd hand record shop or markets with record stall & have a good ferret around. i live in south London, so i visit Greenwich market now & then as well.
  4.  
    I used to love record fairs with a passion, but these days ebay has pretty much taken over the market - and it's often a lot cheaper - the bargains you can pick up simply by logging in at just the right time are amazing - I've had some realy corkers recently, which I definitely wouldn't have got at a record fair, which is mainly because the dealers at the fairs know what they're talking about and know what to charge!

    Having said all that - the excitement of going to a record fair (not knowing what gem you're going to come across) can never be replaced!
  5.  
    I also tend to find that the internet has skimmed a lot of the really good stuff out of record fairs, at least here in northeast America. I can see why, though: why drag a great item all over to be haggled by a collector when you can post it on eBay and watch the sparks fly? I, personally, like the thrill of the hunt more than the suspense of a bidding war, but I can see why a dealer with great stuff to offer might be more inclined to sit back at home with a beer and casually enter everything into the net rather than go hang around a musty old hotel conference room with weak coffee and recirculated air.

    One of my cooler finds at one of these shows was the bonus record from 154 (with "Let's Panic Later" et al.) Sadly it was a casualty of a bad money period and I sold it off (along with a nice Wire 7" collection), but these things happen.

    Used record stores themselves have taken a nasty hit here in Boston: wonderful Mars Records is gone, Other Music barely lasted a season, Second Coming (who provided most of my Wire collection) long since disappeared, not to mention Mystery Train, where I was lucky enough to snag the cardboard edition of Manscape (plus a few - ahem - "import" live cassettes).

    Newbury Comics still survives, as does In Your Ear, Nuggets, Looney Tunes and a few other good haunts, but setting aside a day to go record store prowling isn't like it used to be - and gee, haven't I seen that old beat-up LP of He Said's "Hail" before? The turnover of old and new product just isn't happening anymore.
  6.  
    Great comments!!
    We must all be 40 something music fans or thereabouts lol.
    Cause we all agree.
    Records fairs are on their knees trying to get folk in to them!
    As I said in my previous post, VERY RARELY do you find a real bargain.
    It is a money operating fair. Fair do,s, these guys have got to make money, but
    items have got to be MINT!! condition.
    Lets be honest, how mant items have you seen mint at a record fair??
    Used to luv browsing through rows and rows of records at fairs and shops, but
    those days are GONE.
    Went to the local Oxfam shop in the west end of Glasgow the other week as it was mentioned
    in the Mag Record Collector as a great place to browse!!
    Total crap in it.
    So dissapointed. (OK got a 60,s Joan Baez Picture sleeve 7")
    That sums up the market today.

    Supppose the only realistic way you can get ;

    1/ a bargain
    2/ Mint copy
    3/ Your own Eclectic musical tastes

    Is the NET.

    Think the record fair is unfortunatley in (like the ROTW )in recession.
  7.  
    conversley....the good thing about fairs is that whatever it is yer interested in you can take the vinyl from the sleeve & check its condition &, in the days of multiple releases with different track listings, ensure that it is the version you want!

    i recently bought a copy of Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg (Mick Jones' mixed versions of Combat Rock + trax that never made the official release) over internet & a) vinyl was in poor condition & b) the track listing was not what i promised! to give the seller his due, he gave me a full refund!
  8.  
    I probably go to one or two a year - but they have gone downhill in recent times. Occasionally you do find genuine bargains though as tim says, the tastes and personal hygiene of many of the participants leave much to be desired.

    For an entertaining musical take on the record fair culture, check out 'Listening to Marmalade' from genius/nutter Lawrence's second Go-Kart Mozart album.

    Mark
  9.  
    Yes the ladies smell nicer at gigs one tends to find.