What do you do when you are on your own in an unfamiliar city?

I – decided to get lost, only to conveniently stumble across a cobbled side street containing a row of second hand shops. I became hopeful at the prospect of unearthing something great, given away by selfless strangers to aid charities. They aid music lovers like me, too.

I left Newcastle with Sarah Vaughan, Nico, Fleetwood Mac and a HORRIFIC hangover.

Charity shops are like gold mines. It could take weeks even months to find a gem, but when you do, the satisfaction that runs through your veins is overwhelming.

I had an hour to kill before I boarded the bus to Newcastle, so in true fashion, I went charity shopping. Headed straight for the back of the shop where I could see the records and CDs lined up next to each other – shoulder to shoulder, battling for breath, yearning to be picked up by the next customer.

Charity shopping is a frequent and gratifying pastime I often indulge in. I could spent hours rummaging through the CDs and the LPs and the cassettes, immersing myself in an intimate world of music, culture and emotion.

The people of Wakefield must really despise Cliff Richard and Shirley Bassey. I must have trawled through at least 5 or 6 albums of each artist in each second hand shop I ventured into. But  amongst ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Summer Holiday’, Blondie’s iconic album cover presented itself to me as if by magic. Parallel Lines. £3.

It usually takes at least half a dozen visits to a different shop, clawing through the masses of cardboard boxes before I am reminded of why I subject myself to an achy back, achy knees and an intense feeling of disappointment when I have to leave empty handed. Today I had been lucky. Those anxious but excited feelings when slipping the vinyls between the covers will never disappear. Because then I found Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’.

The people of Newcastle must really have a problem with Jim Reeves and Lena Martel. Every shop. Every. Single. Shop.

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