Before I discovered that Sheffield was a mere ten minutes away on the train Chesterfield was a lonely place. A small town famed for little more than being the home of Robinson's Nappies, Trebor Sweets and a terrible football team with a violently passionate z-list firm called the CBS. The sofas and cigarettes didn't even come from there they just shared the same name as this home of the church with the bent spire.
In the 80s it was even smaller than it is now, an easy place to get beaten up by people who no doubt still live there. The wrong hair was enough to get you a punch in the face* and as somebody with a passing interest in something other than the Top 40 there weren't too many places to frequent: There was a dive of a pub called The Anchor with a piss poor music policy that did little more than pay lip service to it's clientele by including Meat Loaf and the Stranglers on it's juke box and there was Planet X records.
There it is to the far left of the above picture, the place where I spent some of the happiest days of my youth. This was in fact the second premises for Planet X. The first was around the corner from my old primary school, another institution that has not faired well in the face of time. Planet X was shaped like a slice of pie or cheese if you will meaning the further into the shop you got the smaller it became. To my knowledge nobody was ever became wedged in the store but the architecture meant that this was a real possibility.
My mum used to work around the corner for the local newspaper (also gone) so I would while away much of the time between school and her leaving work in the store. I'd do the same again on Saturdays doing a loop between there, Hudsons, Our Price, the market and whichever other short lived vinyl based enterprise was up and running at the time (Record Box was a great store).
A counter to the left, a CalorGas heater, a singles rack and then new records straight ahead with t-shrits to the right and used records on the wall under the window. I dream about this shop, or versions of this shop, not necessarily because it had the worlds greatest inventory but because it was such a big part of my growing up. This was the place I bought one of my very first albums, Kiss 'Dynasty'. Didds the owner was a very friendly chap and thanks to his endless patience and welcoming smile the contents of this store moulded my formative listening habits.
Without this place my teenage years would have been total and utter misery... And I would probably have got laid a lot sooner.
Highlights of a list of things I bought from Planet X:
- Metallica 'Whiplash' 12"
- 2 Official KLF T-Shirts
- Cassette Single of The Smiths 'Ask' (Never actually bought it but had it put aside for a week)
- Dark Angel - Darkness Descends
- Death Angel - The Ultra Violence
- Death Angel - Frolic Through The Park
- S.O.D - Speak English or Die
- Stupids - Jesus Meets The Stupids
*I believe they call it 'Goth Bashing' nowadays, a lazy catch all term: All subcultures appear to have morphed into either 'Emo' or 'Goth'. Quite what Rites of Spring or Bauhaus have to do with any of these people is less than obvious.