Over the course of this month, there will be a few guest posts to give you a rest from me. I've asked a few fans to share their Black Celebration experience to try and give a few different perspectives on the album. The first of these is from Aidan Berry, a lifelong Depeche Mode fan who lives in North Shields in the North East of England. As well as being a Depeche collector, he's also seen them live several times, including their gig at the wonderfully named Whitley Bay Ice Rink on the Music For The Masses tour. By the time Black Celebration was released, Aidan was a fully fledged Devotee and he recalls the excitement of the day Depeche released their masterpiece back in 1986. I think we can all relate to this post - the feeling of anticipation caused by a new Depeche album still thrills me to this day and I'm no doubt far too old to be reacting like that. This is a great read and one I know you're going to enjoy.
Monday 17th March 1986.
What does a 17 year old lad who had bought every Depeche Mode single, 12 inch and album do when he gets only two weeks' notification of their upcoming album? What does that lad do? He does nothing! Absolutely nothing! His beautiful girlfriend, his family, his schoolwork, his friends his social life - not one part of them are meaningful during this next three week period. Three weeks you say, but the album is out in 2; well that lad needs a whole week uninterrupted with this album!
Who knows how I made it through the two weeks in a constant blur of anticipation and wondering? My mind raced endlessly. What will the cover art be like? Will the band still be my band and the music so wonderfully brilliant, weird and quirky. Will they still be the band sailing under the radar? All questions doing the ear worm through my head but not as important as the need to hold the album, hear it and devour its layers and rhythms.
So the day arrived and what do I do? Unfortunately I have to go to school. I sweat and wait and wait and sweat until 4 p.m. when I sprint to the bus for the 7 mile journey into Newcastle and W. H. Smiths, the place I bought all my Depeche Mode records from. My whole day has been building up to this moment, much the same as the previous two week had been, from the second I'd read about a new Depeche Mode album and its release date.
I make it to the bus but will the bus deliver me across the 7 miles through traffic in time to get to W. H. Smith before closing time at 5:30? Get out of the way cars and buses, take your lives elsewhere for this journey, don't you know I have a Depeche Mode album to buy?
What a long journey it turns out to be but we make it thanks to the skill of the driver. W. H. Smith is a short sprint from the bus stop but my trip is fraught with danger. Have I remembered to bring my cash? I make a couple of checks to ensure I have my it with me. All is well. Martin and the boys are within reaching distance.
I go into the shop.
I go into the shop.
IT'S NOT THERE, It's not under D for Depeche Mode and it's not under B for Black Celebration. No!
Wait. IT IS THERE. There's a special stand at the end of the vinyl section. I grab the record. It looks excellent. Depeche Mode. My Depeche Mode. Now it is mine.
Relax, breathe and get home. Oh shit - I still have to go to work. Ah well, at least it means I will be able to afford the tickets for the forthcoming gigs. I rush through my work in record time - shelves filled, pallets emptied, boxes crushed - and at last I get the bus home.
It is my dinner time but who needs food? Depeche Mode are more important. I go into the house and greet the parents nonchalantly. Who knows what they said to me? I wasn't listening. My girlfriend called - I tell her I will see her tomorrow. She may be beautiful and amazing but this is Depeche Mode.
Upstairs, bedroom and turntable. I play it once and record it to tape. That will do for now, but my stereo is a poor quality set up. The vinyl will only get played once more - that will be at my sister's house at the weekend. I want to record it to a good quality tape on her expensive setup so that I can savour every second of it.
And how is this long anticipated record? You know the answer to that....
Follow Aidan on Twitter - https://twitter.com/aapierre