"The art of the single was never really about the song. It was about the trouble you took to find it, the walk to the record shop and the effort involved in copying the lead singer's hairstyle."Searching, finding and buying a 7-inch record was always more than just for the pop song that it contained. It was a pure fetishistic pleasure contained in the package - the more outlandish the format/sleeve art the cooler! Remember all that coloured vinyl (white was always my favourite), the textured sleeves, the double hole in the record so you could play it eliptically too (the band Non on Mute Records if I recall correctly), the newspaper sleeve (Public Image Limited - no, you can't make me an offer, I'd rather sell my boyfriend instead!), the British small holes compared to the continental big ones (stop sniggering, in the record hole divisions smaller was always far cooler than big), picture sleeves which were always special in the UK while it was standard issue on the continent. I got obsessed by some small record labels, such as Rough Trade and Small Wonder Records (and even Mute), and collected as much as I could. Needless to say, 25 years later I still got them all.
It all went wrong when record companies discovered all these goodies could be used as vile marketing tools to extract coin from punters who simply had to have everything that was released by their favourite popstar. Now everything comes down from your 'puter to your i(diot)-pod in one easily charged for file. Boy, am I glad I don't have to be young these days.