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I've been experimenting with solvents, which probably explains some of these newsletter introductions. Not only solvents, actually; I've used rubbers. And kitchen roll, even washing-up liquid. Except in the kitchen of course; like all right-thinking members of the monied classes, Record Collector deploys gangs of desperate migrants from war-torn lands who are happy to clean up in return for us not dobbing them in to the authorities. There are two sleeping under my desk as I write this, which is why I’m not using bold type because I don't want to wake them up. Really this work should go to British students on five-year unpaid internships with the promise of a half-decent reference when they leave, but these days you are not allowed to kick, grope and gouge the eyeballs of work experience people because of the EU's so-called human rights legislation. It's PC gone mad (love the way his neighbour looks for a moment, then just gets on with his day). Anyway, solvents: I shouldn't have to use them at all, but increasingly I find that the records I buy on the internet have never been cleaned. And even when the records are gleaming, the sleeves aren't.
There are various clips on YouTube which show big fellas cleaning record sleeves with disinfectant wipes, which works effectively on laminated sleeves but can be a dodgy on others. I tried some from Morrisons that contained isopropyl alcohol, which can stain your sleeves pink if you overuse them. One dab of Ecover washing-up liquid on a couple of sheets of damp kitchen roll can work wonders if you're careful not to use too much water, but I've found an ink eraser – a rubber – as effective as anything on the right type of cardboard. Ink erasers shift Biro, so if Rod is embarrassed about those records dedicated to him in red ink by Britt, or Chris wants to expunge Gwynnie's love notes on his Radiohead CDs, that's their way out. One area I have had difficulty with is in removing stuck-on paper; I own an old non-laminated album that had at some point been kept somewhere damp and had stuck to another album next to it. The seller had pulled the two apart, and the one I bought was left with a small area where a thin layer of sleeve from the other album remained stuck to it. Moistening it slightly hasn't worked, nor has lighter fluid. A rubber shifted some of it and so has a decorator’s scraper, but it's slow, uncertain work and risks damaging some of a cover I want to keep intact; if anyone has a better idea how to remove it, I'd be glad to hear from you.
On Saturday, tempted by decent weather, I went for a mooch round Sudbury, Suffolk. Plenty of charity shops but most of the records were the more obvious country albums which I would rather eat than hear. However, I was delighted to discover a vinyl dealer in the market; dozens of sealed reissue US albums from the likes of Herbie Hancock, Funkadelic, Horace Silver et al. He had used vinyl too. The stall will be mentioned in the next edition of the mag, in which RC Investigates the delights of finding plastic on market stalls. We're preparing a directory of them, so if you know of a market discmonger, email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also upcoming in the magazine: modern rare gems, Stones '64, The Stranglers and of Montreal. It'll be a particularly rocking issue but it's some way off as yet. In the meantime, what's big, thick, red and has curly hair around it? Our Marc Bolan-fronted edition, in the shops now.
Hope you have a great week. Thank you for reading this newsletter and Record Collector.
Editor, Record Collector