Faith, hope and charity shops

IN HER time, Rachel Fox has been “a claustrophobic club DJ, an alternative pub quiz host, an unambitious journalist, an immature teacher, a paranoid shop assistant and a market researcher who didn’t really care what the answers were”.

These days, she lives in Angus in north east Scotland and looks after her family full-time – partly because she likes it, partly because it gives her more writing time and partly because she is very bad at keeping regular jobs.

Her poetry is beautifully simple and concise but it has a lot of heart and I like it. And it’s suffused with an enduring love of music, in many if not all of its forms. She’s just posted a rather sad and funny little poem about the rave era comedown.

But it seemed like such a laugh at the time!

Still doing the business, proudly proclaiming its mission to bring old music to new people, Dirty Martini specialises in putting together downloadable sequences of the music which has soundtracked Ms Martini’s life, more often than not drawing from Eighties and Nineties soul and R&B. There’s some truly excellent stuff here.

Recent highlights include a Prince collaborations special, a collection of homegrown R&B from the last couple of years and Ten Madonna Songs I Don‘t Hate. I wish she’d write a little bit more about her selections though.

Context is king!

We all know that the interesting, well-written stuff can get lost in the sheer amount of very bad writing out here on the webnet. That’s why, when you do find someone who knows what they’re doing, it’s a real pain in the arse when they seem to give it up as a bad job.

Natty Rajah seems to be having a break at the moment, which I hope won’t be permanent. Her impeccable taste and informed, insightful writing about classic reggae music from 1970 to 1985 would be much missed.

It’s unlikely that I’m going to be in the market for any Mott The Hoople albums in the near future (my loss, I know), but vintage rock vinyl-nerds should head here for an interesting piece about Oxfam’s increasingly irritating savviness – curse those internet-literate do-gooders! – in their secondhand record-pricing.

“The skip outside our BHF charity shop sometimes has some really good stuff in it,” comments Nik from Exeter. “I sold a book out of there on eBay for £12 to an Australian who also paid £12 postage. And found a photograph that is now in a museum.”

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