Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Find below second test subject responses:

1.) Why do you think people become obsessive about records?

Some people are just obsessive, aren’t they? Some people watch porn, some people buy records. Some people do both.

2.) Would you class yourself as obsessive about records?

Yes, but I’m in recovery.

3.) Do you have any 'rules' regarding what you will or will not buy?

No, because that’s not very punk rock, is it? Though having said that, there are certain patterns that I seem to follow. For example, I only buy jazz and reggae on vinyl. I’m not sure why I do this, other than the obvious – I’m a bit of a cunt. If you’re talking about setting restrictions on my purchases like only buying originals, then no – I’m not that much of a cunt.

4.) Approximately how many records do you own?

Just records, not CDs or 7”s? About one thousand six hundred and ninety four.

5.) Is there a reason for your accumulating?

Other than being a cunt? I guess I have always been an insecure person with a desperate craving to belong. Collecting records is like being part of a gang only you don’t have to talk to the other gang members. It’s socialising without having to socialise – perfect for the socially inept. And the generally misanthropic. Working in a record shop for nearly fourteen years may have had something to do with it though. What can I say? I was born to do it – I’ve got chiselling fingers.

6.) What is your most played record?

I don’t know. I’m getting on a bit, so thankfully most of my listening took place before the invention of the ‘play count’. I’ve listened to The Go-Betweens’ 1978-1990 a few times though and Codeine’s Frigid Star has been played once or twice over the years too. As have Philophobia and Hatful of Hollow… But ‘most played record’? Sorry, can’t help you mate. Ask a teenager.

7.) What do you think your record 'collection' says about you? Four letters. Begins with C. Possibly preceded by the word ‘pretentious’. Either that or I’m superfuckingcool. It’s a fine line.

8.) Favorite sleeve?

Too many to choose just one…

Ivor Cutler – Jammy Smears

[“C’mon you fuckers, I’ll take the lot of you on. Who’s first?”]

Bob Dylan – The Times They are A-Changin’

John Phillips – John, the Wolf King of LA

U-Roy – Dread in a Babylon

Elvin Jones and Richard Davis – Heavy Sounds

The Ornette Coleman Quartet – This Is Our Music

Eno, Moebius, Roedelius, – After The Heat

Eno, Moebius, Roedelius, Plank – Begegnungen

Flying Saucer Attack – Flying Saucer Attack

The Fall – Hex Enduction Hour

Contortions – Buy

Silvester Anfang – Satanische Vrede

But if you were to push me into a corner and wave a loaded gun in my face, I’d probably have to go for Vivian Jackson and the Prophets’ fantastic Conquering Lion.

Forget black dudes in sharp suits and pasty white kids with pillow cases over their heads trying to look scary; forget giant plumes of marijuana smoke and drug fucked daughter fuckers wearing top hats. This sleeve is an absolute joy; it’s so vibrant and colourful, it just makes me smile – even though the kid looks kind of sad. (Weirdly the only pictures I could find online were really pink, the sleeve I have is a wonderful red.)

[Incidentally, Vivian Jackson aka Yabby You died on 12th January 2010. Once more death edges a little closer.]

9.) What record are you currently searching for?

I don’t do a whole lot of ‘searching’ any more (as I say, I’m in recovery), but I still like a good chisel when I get the chance. I’d quite like to get my hands on an original copy of Arthur Doyle plus 4’s Alabama Feeling. And Center of the World Vol. 1 and 2 by Frank Wright Quartet. Oh, and I wouldn’t say no to a copy of Crippled Pilgrims’ 1984 EP Head Down-Hand Out (on Fountain of Youth). But I’m also looking forward to getting Richard Skelton’s new album Landings. It’s not just about old rare records, you know. And I don’t suppose I’ll ever really stop.

10.) Is there a visual side to your accumulating of records?

Well, I don’t use a colour swatch when I go record shopping, if that’s what you mean. But I have bought plenty of records over the years just because they had a good sleeve, Music From the Far North, for example, which is a compilation of Finnish and Swedish folk songs on Argo from 1967 (my copy even has the bottom right hand corner completely torn away); and Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show by Neil Diamond, which looks so good you forget it’s a Neil Diamond album and is almost as good as it looks. There are many more.

11.) Can you pinpoint an event in your life that has gone some way to shaping your listening habits?

What like playing football as a kid and being told by the coach that proper footballers don’t wear pants? It’s a bit of an odd question, Matt. But if you insist… when my son was born we listened to a hell of a lot of reggae. For some reason he really liked Prince Far I, particularly the track ‘Tribute to Bob Marley’ from Voice of Thunder. I’ve heard it’s got something to do with the rhythm being similar to that inside the womb, but that might just be reggae bollocks. As my son got older and moved in to his own room, I found myself listening to more music in the car – a twenty-five year old grey Volvo estate – cruising round the back streets of south-east London, with the window wound down, the sunroof open, listening to Billie Holiday and the Beach Boys’ 20 Golden Greats really fucking loud. Sometimes I wish I smoked a pipe.

12.) Do records make you happy?

Of course. And sometimes they make me cry. Sometimes they make me want to drink. Sometimes they make me want to jump up and down like a crazy man and punch people in the face. But I guess you mean, ‘do records, ie the physical slabs of black vinyl, make me happy?’ Then no – they’re just slabs of black vinyl. It’s all about the music, isn’t it? Or is it? There is definitely something about records. Aesthetically, I mean. I have always got more pleasure pulling a record out of a bag than a CD or a fucking cassette. Turning the sleeve in your hands, studying it, feeling the weight of it, slipping the record out of the inner, placing it on the deck, dropping the needle into the shallow groove… the ritual of it. Yes, records make me happy. But sometimes they make me feel empty and shallow. Like drinking and wanking.

13.) Record shop wise what's given you the biggest thrill?

If you’re talking about purchases, then it’s got to be the time David Tibet sold a load of records in to the shop where I was working, including these Albert Ayler and Archie Shepp records that I’d been after for ages, things like Black Gypsy and Pitchin Can. Stashing those records felt pretty good. As did buying a UK original version of Noah Howard’s Black Ark for about fifteen quid. Otherwise, listening to Trout Mask Replica. For some reason, it always sounds amazing when played in the shop. Same with the Minutemen.

14.) Do you ever dream about record shops or record shopping? if so please expand.

No, I’m not mental.

15.) What is your favorite record shop ever?

MVE, 28 Pembridge Road, Notting Hill, late nineties. Don’t get me wrong, it was shit, really shit – stocked with the worst records that no-one wanted to buy, we’re talking the real dregs, and most of the customers were worse – but I worked there with these really great guys and I fucking loved it. Shit records though… Or maybe Norman’s, which was a stall in Gravesend Market. It’s where the chiselling began. I was still at school and we’d go down there at lunchtime, all excited, and flick through the racks buying all these white labels and records by bands we’d never heard of like The Flaming Mussolinis and Fra Lippo Lippi. But are either of these my favourite record shop ever? Probably not.

16.) Having worked in a record store for some time, describe the 'amusing record shop based event' that springs most quickly to mind.

There was this time a bloke came to the counter to sell a load of records. I asked him if he had any ID. He didn’t and he started getting all annoyed, like ‘don’t you know who I am?’ He then went over to the racks and came back with a copy of The Only Ones’ Baby’s Got A Gun and threw it on the counter, saying: “Will this do?”. I turned to a colleague who shrugged his shoulders, suggesting it was OK. Ten minutes later I turned to my colleague and said: “How the fuck was I to know that there was a short, fat, bald bloke in The Only Ones?” I looked up, and John Perry was standing right next the till, not three feet away, flicking through Rock & Pop A-B….

17.) How will you dispose of your collection when you die?

I won’t, I will be dead. My son will place them in a boat, set them on fire and push them out to sea, acrid black smoke reaching into the sky. In his hand he will be holding one record from the collection that he has carefully selected that he will treasure and play each subsequent year at the exact time of my death. Who fucking cares? I will probably have sold the lot years before in order to pay child maintenance.

18.) Are you allergic to nuts?


19.) Name three records that you believe have shaped the universe around you.

‘Oh’, ‘Fuck’ and ‘Off’.

20.) Name one album that you believe represents the pinnacle of human musical achievement.

‘The pinnacle of human musical achievement’? Will you listen to yourself? Christ. The original soundtrack to Fame? What about Double Nickels on the Dime? It’s punk, it’s jazz, it’s funk, it’s a little bit country and you know it got soul. Hell, it’s even got Van Halen. D. Boon and Mike Watt – fucking corn-dogs.

21.) Worst album you ever bought?

This is where I bang on about Sgt. Pepper’s being shit, isn’t it? The thing is, I’ve never bought Sgt. Pepper’s. Why would I? And that’s why I’m really struggling with this. It’s not the worst album I’ve ever heard, but the worst I’ve bought. Sure, I’ve bought plenty of records over the years that turned out to be a bit shit, records that have gone straight into the trade pile – often without a full listen (you can just tell, why waste more time than you need to, huh?) But none of them was Sgt. Pepper's. Or Celine Dion, for that matter. So which of this bad lot was the worst? I just don’t know. I mean, who remembers the shit ones? You don’t make note of a bad wank. Do you? That said, I once saw Coldplay live at Glastonbury because my wife wanted to see them, and before the first song had even reached the chorus, I turned to my wife, said “Hold this”, handed her my pint and puked all over her shoes. I remember that.

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