A year or so ago, I was invited to a local "dad's from school" book club. Standard rules, once a month, read the selected book, meet up at a pub, discuss said book for a bit, then continue socialising... or as I commented on it, "a drinking club with a reading problem".
When my second book group meet up came around, I hadn't read the book, I'd actually forgotten which book was chosen. I felt slightly guilty.... for about half an hour, then the book was forgotten about and socialising continued.
This continued for the following months. I still haven't read a single book for the group yet!
Apart from the books, socialising and good conversations - another topic that many of us enjoyed was music. Many of the attendees would also go to the local Open Mic nights, so if wasn't books or politics, we'd be talking music, albums and bands.
This got me thinking, I listen to a lot of music whilst I work. I could listen to an album easier than reading a 500 page novel. Why not do an "Album Club" instead? (and I'd feel less guilty about not reading the books).
Chatting about this idea with a few of the other dads, many albums got suggested - some I knew, some I'd heard of, others very obscure.
In an effort to discover those ignored, obscure or overlooked albums, we'd make suggestions and take a book club-esque approach, listen to the album during the month and discuss it at the next meet up.
I searched online for any examples of other "Album Clubs", to get ideas for a set of ground rules, etc. There wasn't much. The best I could find was the journalistic Ruth and Martin's Album Club, which would invite a celebrity to pick an album they've never heard, listen to it 3 times over a month, then write a review for the website. There's more background about RAM Album Club on a BBC News article.
Listening to album 3 times in a month felt like a good number to appreciate it, to soak it up, so that was our start.
With an impromptu pub chat, we came up with the rules...
- Chosen person picks an album.
- You listen to 3 times during the month.
- We all listen to it on the night, enjoy, discuss, reminisce.
- Person to choose next album is decided on the night (e.g. by game of spoof, dance off, or paper scissors stone).
- Rinse and repeat monthly.
- The chosen person could suggest their favourite album or something completely different that they'd like to explore.
- The selected album should be of interest and have (some) depth or substance. Essentially, we'd like to avoid cheesy manufactured bubblegum pop, or 'Best Of' compilations.
- Encouraged to pick an album that works as a whole, rather than 'a loose collection of songs'.
At the time of writing, we haven't decided on a venue. It'll most likely be someone's house, unless if we can arrange with one of the local pubs to give us a space. (There's niggles about music licensing - I'm sure there are specific rules around alcohol and playing recorded music.)
I'm very much looking forward to our first Album Club evening!