MAYBE you don’t really appreciate anything until it’s gone.
The ones that got away are the ones that do your head in, whether it’s the shoes you inexplicably lose at that mad wedding in Burnley or the most beautiful girl in the world deciding she isn‘t actually that interested, come to think of it.
For some of us, however, it is losing Flux of Pink Indians’ seminal jazz-punk concept album, The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks.
It’s those long-lost records which concern us here. You’ll have to handle the other stuff yourself (although I can recommend a good shoe shop in Brighton).
We’re talking about the weird, the obscure, the strange and the stupid – mostly; the records that nobody has ever heard of, except, of course, you and your daft bloody mates. You go years without thinking about them; you don’t even know you’ve lost them until you decide that you have to listen to, say, that LP of biker movie music Blast First put out in 1987.
Ass-kicking ten-minute psyche-funk freak-outs! Bizarre dialogue from obscure exploitation flicks! Savage Pencil picture disc! Steve Albini liner notes!
And then you remember that ten days short of Giro day sometime in 1989 you sold it, for a pittance, to Nosferatu the Record Dealer who lived around the corner, thinking that it’d be easy enough to pick up again once you were flush at some undetermined point in the future.
Newsflash: It’s not that easy.
Even worse, there are The Tunes That Just Aren’t There Anymore, the Disappeared of the vinyl world; you haven’t a clue what happened to them, or where they are, only that they’re gone, leaving just a memory and absolute, cold, dark silence. Maybe, somewhere along the M62, those records were abducted by some strange vinyl lifeform and even now are being subjected to hideously invasive surgical procedures on the other side of the universe.
Or maybe they’re just in the big pile of punk, indie, techno and hardcore tunes I left – for ages, admittedly – at my ex-landlady’s place in Harehills. She moved out and I never saw her again. Or they could be in the box of records nicked from Kenny’s car after that birthday party in Hyde Park.
Actually, I do have an idea where most of my missing records ended up: they’re scattered around the suburbs of Leeds, you robbing bastards.
Now I doubt anyone who has got this far will be too concerned – you’ve obviously got problems yourself, or at the very least, way too much time on your hands – but at this point I should remind those of a dull and unimaginative disposition that you are about to enter a world where dusty old records that hardly anyone bought in the first place, and no one remembers or cares about, assume critical, paramount, all-encompassing importance.
I have no real sense of proportion when it comes to this kind of stuff. And I’ve lost loads of records over the years.
Some people have children and some people collect stamps. Others do heroin or strangle animals. I buy records.
I do a bit of DJing (don’t we all? Celebrity dogs DJing, that’s what I‘m waiting for) but in all honesty, I’d buy loads of records anyway, whether I had anyone to play them at or not. I’ve got a habit, but unlike many junkies, I don’t even pretend I want to kick it.
Sure, I’ve got a monkey on my back but, y’know, he’s wearing a fez and a waistcoat and I kinda like having him around. He may not be particularly attractive to the ladies, he’s expensive to feed and he weighs a fucking ton but he knows how to work a dancefloor and he’s always up for a party.
I don’t want your sympathy. This is not a cry for help and it’s not some online rough-cut of a wannabe Nick Hornby book of stupid lists – this is my reality and I’m very happy here, thanks.
Think of it as a Lost & Found column: the ones that got away, the tunes that got lost, stolen or flogged, what they meant to me at the time, how I lost them, how I got them back again and what they sound like now.
Add some old and new interviews and a few other bits and pieces and that’s about it, really.
There is profanity, there are descriptions of secondhand record shops, some names have been changed to protect the guilty. James Last might make an appearance.
It’s probably not for everyone.
[Mail to expletiveundeleted at yahoo dot co dot uk]