55 songs in 55 days - one for every year of my life...so far.
I had helping hands in the shop every now and then, but for the majority of the time I was a sole trader. This meant whatever the condition of my physical or emotional health at any given moment, I still had to be behind that counter, smiling at everybody who stepped through the door. It was particularly difficult to work through relationship upheavals, one of which occurred in 1996. My emotional trauma at that time also meant that I wanted to keep very busy after work, so I hit the gig circuit harder than ever before, running myself pretty ragged in the process. There are a larger quantity of surviving ticket stubs in the family archive from the period '96/'97 than for any other. And many more have been lost over the years.
I didn't get to the first UK Ramones show in 1976, but I was there to say adios amigos at the last one, 20 years later.
One man I've never seen in concert is Joe Henry. In 1996 he issued 'Trampoline', one of my favourite albums of the decade, probably of all-time. 'Trampoline' marked a distinct change of musical direction following a series of accomplished alt-country releases and the LP perfectly reflects the slightly woozy fragility I felt for much of the year.