I’m sure it used to be a garden fence, the rotting slates that lay buried in the foot high grass are a lingering indication something once stood here, weeds, the size of small bushes are dotted amongst an assortment of broken bicycles, plastic coke bottles, beer cans and fag ends, huge piles of dog crap in varying stages of decay add to the general depressing ambiance of the place...

The paving slabs are cracked and the earth is starting to reclaim the pathway leading up to the front door with it’s peeling brown paint and missing letterbox flap.

The windows are filthy and the porch light is hanging off the wall by it's cable, ringing the doorbell doesn’t create the desired response from inside the squalor, due in part to the wire to it hanging in the breeze just above my head, there is no other way to get a reaction from behind the door other than knocking with enough force to penetrate the smell of weed smoke that is seeping out from the cracks around the door.

I've been waiting for what seems like an eternity before suddenly I see a shadow looming large towards the glass, I breathe in and plaster yet another fake plastic smile across my face as the door swings open and we start the charade again.ob 913819 chav

Welcome to the wonderful world of buying vinyl….

“Alright buddy, you Nick?”

He knows I am, we've spent the last 20 minutes talking on Facebook with various delays in responsiveness while I talk to you guys (Hi Chilli) and Facebook stalk him.170860994.jpg.gallery

In my experience it pays to know who your dealing with and I’ll usually spend a good 5-10 minutes checking them out beforehand, where do they live, do they own their own home, where do they work etc all this information can be invaluable when it comes to negotiating a price for their vinyl

His name is Ricky or Rick, Richie I wasn’t paying attention and honestly it really doesn't matter anyway, I’m going to have forgotten it before I get back to my car anyways.

Now this may all sound rather cold but I’ve encountered 100s or Ricks or Ricky’s or Richie’s before, the face changes but the story’s usually the same, dad gives little Ricky his prized vinyl because  they meant something to him when he was Richie’s age.

Rich never plays them, instead what little Rich does is sit on his ass, smoke grass and play Xbox all day long, now, rather than keep them for sentimental value or heaven forbid if he’s never going to listen to them, put some work in himself researching, grading  listing them on eBay, NO, he’d rather have somebody like me turn up and give him enough cash for another bag of skunk and let him go about his merry way.

This is the exact scenario that greeted me on this sunny Tuesday on an estate in North West Cornwall.

Ricky leads me into his cluttered front room that could double as a cinema with a 60inch television and comfortable looking seats, kids toys are scattered around the place.

The room is held together with a stained coffee table cover in bits of ripped up rizla paper, fag ends and a red platic bong with wisps of smoke rising from its top like a cooling tower.cannabis PNG14

Rick leans over the side of the sofa to pull out an Aldi bag that he then uncaringly tosses over to me.

“So how much do you think their worth?” he says,  like I'm going to give him an honest answer!

I Pull out eh the vinyl, cradling them in my arms and find myself  looking through a stack of near mint Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks and Who records, obviously a prized possession as each one is housed in a thick plastic sleeve.

They were me dad’s, I’m never gonna play ‘em”  says Richie idly, his glazed red eyes looking over to the table to check his little bag of grass hasn’t disappeared .

Do you want ‘em?”

Do I want them?! Of course I do if only to save them from Rich, it’s unbelievable lucky they’ve lasted this long with him and judging by the state of this place they shall not last much longer

I used to smoke pot in my youth so I hand over enough cash to buy an eighth but still  about £250 less than the vinyl are actually worth.

Ricky jams the note into a jeans pocket just as a small child comes creeping in up to him.u36enags0x701

“Daddy I want to drink”  says the timid voice grabbing hold of Richie's baggy jeans

In a minute sweetheart” say Rich distractingly picking up his phone  as I make my excuses to get out of this awful place.

 As I’m struggling to free the jammed front door from its frame whilst clutching my precious cargo as tightly as I can, I  hear Ricky on the phone to his dealer.

“Alrite mate,Yer sweet fella, yer I’ll take a £20 bag, yer be right over, 5 minutes ok”

Now this is what has become of years of collecting and £100s of pounds spent by his dad has come down to, so Ricky can score £20 quids worth a grass he’ll probably of smoked by this evening, honestly it breaks my heart.

Perhaps I should be honest with the Ricks I meet just like the other fantastic people I buy from on a daily basis but what would be the point!? he’ll just waste that cash too and I wouldn’t be able to pass the savings onto you guys (90% of the time we’re cheaper than Discogs)

I love this job (most of the time) and I’ve been to and seen some amazing places along the way, however I know around the corner there’s always another Ricky just waiting to be ripped off.

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"YOU'RE WELCOME"