Friday, November 20, 2009


So I am back. After a pregnant pause of nigh on a month my fingers are tapping away as they recover from a night of making up for lost record shop time. Already my tan is fading, patches of peeling skin forming on my shoulders as my shit turns back to normal. Sierra Leone saw everything ranging from 'runny like soup' to trying to pass an sizeable unsanded wooden stump... But this is 32RPM and not so I shall cease and desist with that particular line of copy.

Despite my third world surroundings the break was welcome, the beaches were fantastic and the beer was Heineken. Any record shops that were in Sierra Leone were either put out of business due to government corruption or burnt down during the almost decade long Civil war. Closest I got were a couple of huts selling pirate Lil'Wayne CDs. Given the countries geography and fondess for Nigerian media it's a real shame - Were it not for the countries now dead locust of an ex-premiere one Saiaka Stevens I could probably have loaded up on Lagos Funk and other crazy African delights, but no not so much as a scratched up Baccarra 7inch of 'Yes Sir I Can Boogie' (Criminally under-rated BTW).

A little non-record shop based advice to any budding travellers contemplating a visit to said country: Go directly to the beaches, do not pass go and do not collect $200. Empty world class beaches aside the country is fucked, existing solely on Western subsidies, and charity hand-outs it is without infrastructure and despite being safe and friendly in 2009 outside of the 'major cities' (read fucked up shanti-towns) there is little in the way of roads, electricity and in some cases running water. The interior is a spattering of unfinished building products and sprawling green wildlife free terrain. Wild life free? Yes, they ate the wild life during the war.

I remember a family holiday in years passed, the west coast of France and eagerly hunting out a 7inch of the theme music from Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome, not because I had even the remotest interest in Tina Turner, but because of the picture sleeve, one that prior to watching said film promised all that the Road Warrior delivered with an even better hair cut. Despite both film and theme being shit the tale still strikes a chord as regardless of my surroundings, of my distractions, over twenty years later one thing still rings true - I would rather be record shopping.

Not even the clearest of seas and pure white sands could distract me from the wants list in my head. Over a period of 14 nights I dreamt of record shops a total of three times and bikes twice. It's important to do what you love, to be what you love but to be definied by so utterly by random 20th Century consumerables is a little disheartening, empty. Anyway, like Popeye would say 'I yam wad I ug ug'.

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