The first rule of Record Club is...

A few years ago some mates of mine decided that if their girlfriends / wives were going to form a book club as a regular feature of their social calendar, the guys should do something similar.

The blokey equivalent was obvious, particularly as several of us are music anoraks: a Record club; a long-running membership (give or take a few chaps who've retired due to lack of time or conversely been co-opted in to swell the ranks), who take it in turns to pick 2 or 3 albums a month.

Prior listening is highly desirable, the albums are played in full at the meet-up and opinions are voiced and scores out of 5 awarded (then tactfully forgotten).

Record Club has passed its 8th anniversary which is rather amazing when I think about it - no friendships have been damaged (as far as I know), no fist-fights have broken out. A couple of the guys organise a "best of" compilation CD prepared in advance of our Christmas curry night and from the year's selection we vote for Best New Album (released within the last 2 years), Best Old Album and... Worst Album (for which there is usually hot competition).

See the entire gripping rundown of albums selected here.

Oh, and the first (unwritten) rule of Record Club is: no compilations.

The second rule (probably) is: no double albums (even if an original vinyl double has been released on single CD).

The third rule of Record Club is: no soundtrack albums unless the music was specifically written for it.

The fourth rule of Record Club is: no live albums (because they are almost always a kind of compilation).