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Record Collector

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When we’re not busy re-cataloguing our collections by label
colour, or performing experiments on old Motörhead LPs which result in the
formation of a highly toxic new molecule, Kilmister-Fullerene, we at Record
occasionally like to listen to music. Like you, I’d imagine, we
were first lured into buying records because we actually quite enjoyed this funny noise that we heard somewhere, whether it was
rattling out of a tinny transistor radio or clattering out of a passing Triumph
Herald, and we wanted to make it our own. I can’t remember this, but my mother
said that I would pick up my big sister’s records and say “Cliff” or “Elvis” and would identify them correctly even
though I was too young to actually read. My first memory of a record was of my
brother coming home with a copy of the Please Please Me album, which I
enjoyed back then before I had fully developed my critical faculties…! (In fact
I think With The Beatles, which my brother also bought, is far superior,
although the band aren’t to my grown-up taste, so what do I know?)

My first memory of a record retailer is a little place in Forest
Road, Walthamstow, in the shops between Lloyd Park and The Bell. I never knew
what it was called and Mr Google doesn’t seem to know either, but I remember it
having a copy of Beatles For Sale in the window and being disappointed
that whoever was lumbered with taking me out wasn’t going in to buy it.
(Precocious little idiot, and shame on me, remembering the record but not the
identity of a family member.) There were probably far more exciting albums in that window but whatever they were is now lost to
time. My first encounter with records for sale, however, would have been
outside Radio Unlimited, located a couple of doors away from our GP’s
low-ceilinged surgery in Hoe Street. This excellent electronics outlet had
racks of a few second-hand 78s outside, and liked to flick through them,
looking at the labels and probably ruining the shellac. More than 20 years
later the shop sold me the amp I still use, an old valve Armstrong that has a gutsy sound like nothing else I’ve tried – and
believe me, I have tried. It was priced at 30 guineas – just for fun,
they explained, placing the best £30 I’ve spent into the till. (A recent
rebuild cost me more than 10 times that amount.) I don’t remember buying
records there although I think I may have picked up a few in the 70s when they
acquired some at random – it was that sort of interesting place. These days I
sometimes buy on eBay, and a lot of what you might want is available, but that
sense of a find is just not the same as buying in person – when you see
something, want it and take it home. That way, there’s no worrying whether
someone in the Ruritanian post service is going to nick it, and no sinking
feeling when you know that the bidding is going to go way beyond your means.
But I’d still sooner buy a physical record than download an MP3, despite the
instant gratification of just pressing play.

We’re working hard on the new issue of the magazine, which
features an era of
rock which even I have no memory
of – before The Beatles. You’ll also have the opportunity to buy the
first of our Modern Collectables albums, featuring unavailable psychedelia from
the Fruits De Mer trawler, and to celebrate it, we’ll be having a word
with those lasting legends of real British rock, The Pretty Things. Plus a whole heap
more, which I’ll tell you about next week. And please don’t forget our
psychedelic festival on 10 August in London; details below.

Hope you’re having a flaming June,

Thank you for reading this, and RC,



Ian McCann, Editor Record Collector

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