The World Cup Final. Half time. The globe is gripped and so am I. But what notion is nibbling away in the basement of my brain? Maybe this is the time to log on to eBay; nobody can be looking at it, apart from non-Latino Americans; surely there will be bargains to be had. No wonder Alan Hansen has decided to retire; instead of paying attention to his analysis, and I genuinely do think he gets right down to the real nitty gritty, I was scrolling down a page of rubbish reggae records. I apologise, Mr Hansen. It’s not like I profited at all from this distraction. Most sellers are waaaay too wise to post listings that end in the middle of Argentina vs Germany. And there’s a seasonal lull: the sun’s out, folk are on holiday, they can’t be boddered wid da Bay. It shows how out of touch I am with the zeitgeist that I reckoned I could grab a gem at such a time. That’s no surprise, however: I thought Fifty Shades Of Grey was a non-fiction book about British teeth.
I did buy a few records last week; I like to play something new at the weekend. And every other day, come to that. None were found on eBay, but captured from friendly dealers, who are (mostly) men my neighbours hate. The neighbours don’t know how lucky they are that I choose to play Pere Ubu at work, or that the punk 45s are on the top shelf, which I have to get a ladder out to flick through properly. My punk listening is basically a case of arrested development; I got about as far as Eater and The Pop Group (not that they count as proper punk), but then my new wave hormones kicked out, probably because of a vitamin X deficiency, and I didn’t move much further on with it. But I saw them all: The Jam, The Damned, The Clash (kind of) anyone mentioned in Punky Reggae Party! It’s a reminder of a fantastic time when I could go out in my laddered stockings and bin bag and only get beaten up several times a night. At least, I remember being threatened by a muscular navvy in a pub toilet in Notting Hill, because I gawped at him. He had spiky hair and I was idly wondering, “Is that Gareth Sager?” Apparently it’s rude to stare at a man in a pub toilet; who knew? Unless it’s a different kind of pub, in which case, please do. Did Huge Grunt have that aggro in Notting Hill? I doubt it.
The punk spirit lives on, in that thousands of bands make DIY records and stick them online, and most of the world neither knows nor cares. But we do. About some of them, anyway. None of them can make a penny, poor souls. But they’ll be going some to match our evil chums at Fruits de Mer, who have kindly sent in a fabulous Astralasia album with such a fabulous silkscreened cover that they must be making a ludicrous loss on it. Either that or they have found a loophole in economics, in which case they ought to be running the country, not a rather natty psychedelique-nouveau record label.
New issue of RC is in the shops around about now. Ms Kate Bush on the cover. See below for details. Thank you for reading this newsletter, which has actual news in it (also below, don’t crick your neck), and for reading Record Collector. Have a great week.