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While you were out enjoying long tall glasses of black and white stuff to celebrate St Patrick’s Day on Monday, I was undergoing a traumatic psychological treatment. In fact it had been going on since Friday. I’m feeling much better now. Honest. I am. Honest. I am. Honest.
It all started when I woke up at 5.11am on Thursday and reached for the laptop. I’d left it switched on so I could bid on an eBay record at the last minute. My long-suffering wife stirred. “What are you doing?” she groaned. But my missus knew what I was doing; she was simply polite enough to ask questions and then shoot, rather than the other way around. “Nothing, darling,” I said, “it’s just an eBay item. I won’t be long, just go back to sleep.” I’d made a fundamental error here. “Again?” said my missus. Funny how one word can be loaded with so much meaning, which was: “Don’t tell me to go back to sleep. You’ve already woken me at 1.35 to look at eBay. And 3.19, 4.03 and 4.54. Where’s my gun?”
You don’t need the details of the argument that ensued, but it was along the lines of “this can’t go on” and “I’m going back to mother”. The latter is particularly worrying, because even my missus believes my mother-in-law is sent from down below. I was sat there, face like that of Bruce Forsyth’s love child with Jimmy Hill, and fag ash falling down my dressing gown – which was strange because nobody in the house smokes. Anyway, the upshot was, I agreed to go on a course to break my addiction to records. That’s where I was for four days.
It was quite a course. It opened with group therapy, where I had to confess to being addicted to the Pama group of labels, such as Gas, Crab, and Pama Economy on which horrors such as this lurk. There were murmurs of sympathy from my fellow patients; they seemed very nice but some of them, like myself, probably only used a flannel for wiping a 45 found at a charity shop. Having acknowledged my problem, the treatment proper started. I was put in a room, electrodes stuck to my skull, and was shown photos of muscular guys with only old glam 45s to protect their modesty. Every time I peered closer – purely to work out which pressing of John, I’m Only Dancing it was – I received an electric shock of increasing intensity. That evening, I was given a drink that made me feel queasy, and was then forced to bid £993.76 for this record. No need for that drink, I was already feeling upset by the record, but it went on all weekend. Freddie & The Dreamers, Dannii Minogue, anything by Bieber; I was forced to bid fortunes while shouting for Hughie. I couldn’t tell night from day. Apparently, this treatment is called classical conditioning – but it works for pop too. I was cured.
On Monday night, I got home, chucked the laptop into the back yard and introduced it to a hammer. At last, I was in my better half’s good books and we made passionate embrace without my looking over her shoulder at eBay (for once). On Tuesday morning, exhausted, I lay in bed until the morning post turned up at 3.45pm. “I’ll get it,” the missus called brightly. Then I heard an exasperated wail, and the front door slammed. I rushed to the window – and saw my wife bunging a suitcase into the boot of her motor. She drove off at speed.
Baffled, I went downstairs – to find a pile of square, flat parcels: How Much Is That Doggie In the Window, Freddie & The Dreamers, Dannii Minogue, Bieber… yes, I did feel sick.
In the forthcoming issue of Record Collector, out on 27 March: how T.Rex were the first to turn glam into soul; ABBA’s amazing rarities; the life and times of the Marquee Club; ESP-Disk’; hoax bands; Ry Cooder; Smokey Robinson; a Bowie Vinyl Fetish and masses more. If you get hooked on it, it’s at your own risk…
Thank you for reading this newsletter and RC.
Have a great week, best wishes,