This is my first post on my newly-created blog, celebrating the world of vinyl records. Virgin territory. Terra Infirma. An unassisted voyage to the digital North Pole. How to start…? Well, I should probably start by setting the scene, (as any good story should), and providing a bit of context. I am a fairly obsessive collector of vinyl records of multiple genres, straddling the popular, commonplace, rare, obscure, and outright weird. I began buying records in Glasgow in 1982, my first purchase being Kraftwerk’s number-one single, The Model, from the long-gone and wonderful Casa Cassettes record and tape shop on Sauchiehall St. The fact that my next two purchases, (from the equally splendid Listen record shop on Byres Rd), were Tight Fit’s The Lion Sleeps Tonight single, (I was only 14 at the time, to be fair), and The Stranglers’ Golden Brown, gives one a sense of my eclecticism of musical tastes from the get-go. And so it has continued. I have steadily amassed a big collection of LPs and singles of weird and wonderful varieties, (despite a particularly ruthless clear-out in 1989-90), enabled by expensive addictions to e-Bay and Discogs. I still crate-dig in charity shops for records, however, because quite frankly, nothing beats the serendipitous thrill of uncovering and rescuing an unappreciated, elusive and forgotten gem, gathering dust under a souvenir tray from Puerto Rico. Second-hand record shops are, of course, another potential source of acquiring records, although the number of these shops has withered dramatically in most towns and cities in the wake of the explosion in online shopping and collecting.
I now have so many records and CDs that a whole room in my house is devoted to their storage – my ultimate man-cave. I can sit in there and sonically bludgeon my ear-drums to my heart’s content, via my fairly state-of-the-art stereo, while my wife reads or watches TV at the other end of the house. I have thus far resisted calls from her to turn this room into another bathroom, (the eminently sensible thing to do, of course), which would create a mass of homeless vinyl refugees, and another, über record-cull would then have to ensue. I haven’t got the stomach for that. How big is my collection? I think (think) I have nearly 2,000 singles, around 1,500 albums and 3,000-4,000 CDs. (Although I have so many CDs, vinyl is where my heart lies). This isn’t an Alan Lomax-sized collection by any means, but it represents the evolving product of a long process of collecting, and distilling of that product through regular culls. On some sort of level, the sum of the constituent elements of my collection must say something about me, (beyond merely that I’m a bit mad), but I haven’t worked that one out yet.
So, what am I trying to do with this blog? What’s its raison d’ etre? Apart from submitting my thoughts to the vanity and self aggrandisement of the blogosphere, my idea is very simple. I want to share recordings of, and information about, records that I like, from a variety of genres, and discuss them. In doing this, there will be a bias towards more obscure or unheard-of records, although more well-known records will inevitably make an appearance. My areas of interest mainly cover punk, new wave, proto-punk, hardcore, synth-punk, 60s garage punk, post-punk, indie, shoegazer, twee, junkshop glam, bonehead crunchers, bovver rock, pub rock, 60s psychedelic, heavy psych, paisley underground, northern soul, 60s R&B, 60s mod, roots reggae, rocksteady, skinhead reggae, ska, dancehall, two-tone, blues, north hill country blues, blues boppers, surf, americana, acid house, progressive house, techno, minimal synth, industrial, dark electro, coldwave, krautrock, 50s rockabilly and rock ‘n roll, and experimental and avante-garde stuff. Like I say, eclectic. In addition, I intend this to be a forum for discussion, and for sharing of further information about the records and the artists. I will talk about the record industry. I may even write some reviews of new records. I will also prepare play-lists of songs relating to particular genres of music, relaying what I consider to be the best or most note-worthy tracks. That’s it. It’s not intended to be a serious last word on anything, (I’m no expert), and I won’t get precious about it if someone tells me that what I’ve written is a pile of steaming crap. It’s a bit of fun really, and if it points some readers in the direction of great records that they’ve never heard of previously, all the better.