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Merry Christmas! At this time of the year that our thoughts turn to previous Christmases (Christmi?), and past loves, and where life has led us. And being a record collector, in my case those past loves are records. It was at Christmas that my cousin in Harlow with the long hair, Michael, took me up to his room that was painted a groovy colour – mauve I think – and showed me a copy of Deep Purple’s Fireball. There was the band as a meteor, aglow, travelling through an infinitely black (well, blue-black) cosmos. It looked exciting to my newly 13-year-old eyes. “You should get this,” Michael advised. “It’s good.” He was so definite about it that I did. And he was right, even though the band disowned it later (bands disown everything, then later grudgingly admit that it was actually OK, if flawed: it’s part of the job description). Now I don’t want to come on with that old tosh that the TV companies love, where everything is a journey in which the participant Learns Something Important, most probably never to be in a reality TV show again, but being into music is a journey. Sometimes literally. I’ve found myself being told to go away (in stronger terms) by a crack dealer in a New York housing scheme, being hustled by kids (and I do me kid, maybe about 10) in a Jamaican yard who ran off like a shot when the police pulled up, and most weirdly, finding a Mint copy of Maceo & All the King’s Men’s Southwick 45 on House Of The Fox in a scruffy London room I was lucky enough to be able to kip in when I had nowhere to live.
Most of the time, the journey has been a more personal one, developing my taste in music record by record. Hence, what started with a casual recommendation from a cousin one Christmas has wound up with my DJing a reggae set at a birthday party last Monday: we don’t know where music is going to take us. I enjoyed Monday night: I did it for fun. I was the warm-up and finished my set at 9, so I figured that I might as well play what I like as nobody would be drunk enough to dance yet (although a few did, including mine host, The Mirror’s music writer Gavin Martin, who is not one of those notorious rock critics who wouldn’t shake a leg if they were standing during an earth tremor). DJing is a peculiar thing: you never know what you’ll be asked for. One person came up and wanted to hear Curly Locks or Tenement Yard, neither of which I had with me. Someone else asked for Phyllis Dillon on Treasure Isle, which I’d just cued up to play. I suppose if I played MP3s, I would have anything anyone wanted, but then they might as well DJ themselves.
As for what happened to my copy of Fireball, maybe you own it. I’ve got a feeling it has the initials “MM” on the Harvest label because my brother took it to a party and wanted to prove ownership (not that he did own it!). It was stored at someone’s house when I had nowhere to live, and that someone sold it at Camden Lock one weekend, around 1983 I think. They later handed me their tenancy when they emigrated, so I can hardly complain. Don’t worry, I don’t want ti back! I bought the album again later, with the all-important lyric sheet, and it still sounds good to me, an opinion heavily clouded by nostalgia, I’d imagine. Past love? And present.
On a less wistful note, here’s why you should support your local record store, not steal from it: Youtube
Got to say that I’m fed up with all these people (Costa Coffee, various radio stations) jumping on the bandwagon to ban Cliff. I’m not much of a Cliff fan – I own three records, The Young Ones, Cliff Sings No 2 EP in stereo, and Ease Along, originally like this, which I really like. But banning Cliff is such a cliché that it only makes the one calling for the ban look way more out of touch than Cliff himself. Saddoes.
We’ve been working on the new issue: the saving of Eric Clapton; Frankie Goes To Hollywood, pop’s forgotten revolution; Bob Lind, the poetic troubadour; the deliciously savoury Humble Pie; Blue Magoos, the psychedelic kid; Bigfoot, P-Funk’s king of the beats; and punk from South Africa. Plus the best of 2013 and all the usual nutty collector stuff that other mags are too up themselves to be seen with. It’s out on 2 January 2014 and I wish you a happy new year to go with it.
That’s it for the newsletter until next year. A new one will pop into your inbox on 9 January. Thank you for reading my ramblings and for supporting Record Collector through 2013. I promise you lots of amazing stories to read in the coming 12 months. I can hardly wait to start working on them.
Hope you have a wonderful and deeply musical Christmas. Best wishes as ever,
Editor, Record Collector