My record collection is complete

21:01

I know some of you are itching to find out what happened on Day 2 of the Amsterdam trip. Yeah, well, that’ll have to wait for a little bit, because I’ve just had a moment that is so heart-stoppingly brilliant that I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I now have every record I want, with the exception of songs that I don’t know the name of, but then, they’re going to be pretty hard to find if I don’t know what they are!

Anyway, this is the vinyl varmint that has been on my wanted list since as long as I can remember…

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It’s the theme to very short-lived gameshow Interceptor. Though you could possibly work that out by the look of the cover. And I now own a copy. Let me take you back, to the very beginning. 1989 to be precise.

Channel 4’s long running gameshow “Treasure Hunt” has been axed, and Chatsworth Television had a similar, but more exciting gameshow. Technology had come a long way since the days of Treasure Hunt, where “Sky-runner” Anneka Rice would run around, solving clues, with the help of a helicopter, and two contestants in the studio, guiding her around a course, sometimes thousands of miles away. Obviously, the only communications they had was via radio, and Anneka’s live scenes were recorded by two blokes, Graham and Frankie. One of them would carry a camera, and the other would carry a huge “portable” U-Matic tape machine on his chest.

Anneka Rice had gone off to pop a sprog, and was replaced by Annabel Croft for the final series.

Treasure Hunt was a fun program (which also had a theme composed by Zack Laurence. It’s called “Peak Performance” if you really want to dig around for it. It’s commercially available.

So, as I was saying. Treasure hunt had came to an end. The two helicopters used to film Treasure Hunt, were redeployed for Interceptor.

This show was a little more complicated than TH. Let’s see if I can explain it without rushing off to Wiki.

Annabel Croft was re-used for this show. She was the presenter, and also the “middle-man”. The show has two contestants. Each with a backpack. One has the prize money in it (£1,000), and the other is empty. The two players get dropped in a helicopter in random parts of the countryside. Once this is complete, a 40-minute timer starts. They have to explain to Annabel where they are. Once Annabel finds where they are on a map, a waypoint lights up. This is the location of the key to the other person’s box. They have to find each other’s key, then meet up and touch hands to stop the clock.

Oh, but there’s a twist. “The Interceptor”. And it was a brilliant twist. Hats off to the guy to thought of this one. One the back of each person’s backpack is a series of infra-red receptors. The Interceptor has his own helicopter, and can fire an infra-red beam to the receptors, and this will lock the box permanently. Obviously, the Interceptor wasn’t just confined to a helicopter, he had access to a car, motorbike, and even a horse. I can’t remember if that was actually used, but it was in the opening credits.

The whole point was that the Interceptor, played by Sean O’Kane, was a villain. A bloody brilliant pantomime villain. There were some moments where he would see the contestants from the helicopter, and then sneak up on them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t easy for the contestants to hide, as they’d have a bloke with a 1989-style TV camera following them.

It worked. It really worked. Everything worked, but just like everything good from the 1980s, it was shit-canned faster than you can say “IIIIIII LIKE IT!” . 8 episodes were produced.

So, enough of the warble that you could have easily looked up on Wikipedia, why this particular theme? Why did “I Like It”? (By the way, that’s the Interceptor’s catchphrase). Hard for me to say. I just do. Many, many years ago, I found that the theme had been released as a single. I’m thinking about 1998 here. Sime time later, I found an MP3 of it, both the A side and the B side. Unfortunately, it had been recorded in pretty low quality. It was still listenable, but hell, I’ll get the 7″. And so the search began

It can’t be that difficult. The bloke who ran “Interceptor’s Lair” has a copy, because that’s where I downloaded it from. Must be millions out there.

Well.

No, is the simple answer to that. People who know me know I love my records. People who know me actually despise the fact that I love my records, because if they’re out anywhere with me, I drag them around every record shop, every market stall, every second hand shop I can find Every place that is likely to sell records, I’m in there.

Naturally, I’ve been looking for other things too, hence the fact my record collection’s just got too big to manage. But deep down, in my gut, I knew that “rock Revolution wasn’t part of the collection. I trawled eBay. Two copies turned up for ridiculous amounts of money. And I mean ridiculous. I think one of them was £22. I have a screenshot somewhere.

So, today, then, and the fateful moment that allowed me to complete the collection.

Jamie S had rang me yesterday. He’d been working away, and was back home this morning, and wanted to know if I fancied doing something. My reply of “Do members of the ursidae line of mammals defecate in large wooded areas?” confirmed that I was freer than the afore mentioned ursine after a dose of curried prunes.

He had an errand to run, in Sunderland. Now, this is where I think fate kicked in. Does fate exist? I don’t know. Maybe this was just an extremely lucky course of events, but hey. There’s got to be some order to all of this.

We arrived in Sunderland, and proceeded to walk down Charity Shop Alley. It’s a row of shops with about eight charity shops in them. Jamie cracked a joke about something, and I said “For that, I’m going to have a look in this charity shop”. We laughed, and he continued walking. He wanted to find the place where this errand must be carried out. About 10 minutes later, he rang me and we met back at the train station. The call ended with “I’ve found something you might like”. Cor. My interest was piqued. He’d found a record shop that had just opened. It was a record / music / coffee shop type place.

I walked past, and looked through the window. There didn’t seem to be much in there. A row of records, a drum kit, some chairs, nothing substantial. I said I’d have a look in, but I’d probably end up in “That’s Entertainment”. It’s a chain of record shops that sell CDs, often hard to find ones, but for pennies. They often have 49p CDs, without cases, which are entirely random. I assume they’re rejects from proper CDs that had damaged cases, etc. You know this anyway, if you follow my music collection.

We went to McDonalds first. There was still some time to kill. Food was devoured, and Jamie was going to head off to Errandsborough, and I was going to go to That’s Entertainment. I was stopped in my tracks by the fact that “That’s Entertainment” had now closed. Gah! I think I know why they keep disappearing and reappearing, but this would be wild speculation.

Oh well, I thought I’d give that new record shop a go anyway. The stock consisted of stuff that looked like it came from a charity shop. 30p stickers, overridden by a £1.00 sticker on the other side. Never mind. I’d have a dig through. There were a couple of 12″ singles that sparked by interest, but for £1 each, I’d leave them there for now. I looked around and found a few boxes of 7″ singles.

I had an odd feeling. There would be something in there. The records just seemed the right era. There was a hand-written poem by someone on one record, which they clearly liked… “If this record attempts to roam, smack its bum and send it home”. I was tempted to buy it just because it made me smile, but it went back in the rack.

Jamie rang me shortly after, asking where I was. He didn’t see me in that record shop, probably because I was kneeled down. I explained about this, and come and entered the shop. He can’t have been in there more than 30 seconds when I pulled this out. This elusive, round, piece of black plastic that has chased me round the internet for nigh on two decades. My search was over.

I can’t possibly convey in a way that is meaningful what happened next, and I don’t expect anyone that doesn’t collect stuff to even know what this feels like. It’s like blood drained from my entire body for a split second, then rose back up. If Jamie had happened to have his phone recording, it’d went viral. It’s like a quest had ended.

It was an odd feeling. After finding the “Fourscore” record a couple of weeks ago, this was by last holy grail. The last piece of plastic that was never released on CD, and never available other than the original release. Even Darryl Way’s “Little Plum” proved much less elusive than this.

It was a feeling like “wow, I never have to go into a charity shop again. I never have to put my back out, trawling through dusty, mislabelled boxes, asking awkwardly how much the singles were.

I’ll never be on the lookout for that black, white and yellow cover. I have it now. It’s mine. I’m going to stick it in a safe deposit box in Hatton Gardens…. Maybe not.

I’ve naturally played it, and it’s noisy. Especially the B side. But I don’t care. It’s the charm of collecting records. Someone has played it before me. Played it many times. Maybe left it out of the cover for a bit. It’s had a home. Lost that home, and found a permanent one here. I’ve spent several hours typing this now, and I still glance to my left, there it is, “Rock Revolution”. I can’t believe it’s actually here.

God, I need a shag.

People of ZX Spectrum land!

I’ve been going through some old tapes, and found the following (rather knackered) recording. I have no recollection which game it’s from, but if you do, I’d appreciate it if you let me know!

[UPDATE 10/2/2014]
Poot, 28 comments and 160+ downloads of the file and still no further forward! I’ll keep searching. Thanks all for the help so far though!

[UPDATE 19/11/2014]
Added this to the Spectrum 4 Ever Facebook group, on the off-chance someone knows what it is. To answer questions, yes, the tape is knackered. It would have been a recording taken directly from my Speccy+’s Ear socket, into a cheap “slimline” tape recorder. Probably running of batteries, I can’t remember.

Blog on the tyne is all mine, all mine

For those of you who follow me on Facebook can’t have failed to notice that Rob, one of my 3 readers, has been begging me to do a review of a song. Any song. It sounded like a simple challenge, which the more I thought of it, the harder it got. Songs which I’d never heard for years came flooding back. “oooh, Maybe I should review Sinead Lohan’s ‘What Ever it Takes’… again”. Ohhh, how about “Wash Your Face In My Sink” by The Dream Warriors? Nope, nobody’s ever heard of it, and it’s garbage anyway.

With every facebook post, Rob would add another comment asking me to do it, , and each time, another slew of ideas would come flashing through my mind, blocking everything else out, meaning I’d be running through “Susanna” by The Art Company, and I’d suddenly forget how to breathe. Or something.

I gave up. I wasn’t going to be able to choose a song. It was never going to happen. Therefore, after a couple of comments on Facebook, it was time to let Rob choose a song or two…

Rob: Love it. But PLEASE do a record review!
Me: You know, I can’t decide which one to review. Here’s my music collection, choose a few.

A few moments went by…

Rob: It’s HUGE!

I switched off the webcam, and gave him the correct link to my music collection. Within a few moments, we had choices…

Ok Zig & Zag Them Girls Them Girls
Paul Gascoigne Fog On The Tyne
Bill & Ben Flobbadance

Judging by the title of this entry, I hope you can guess which one I went with.

And so, last night, I went to do a video A walk home from the offy last night filled my head full of ideas. Unfortunately my microphone is knacked, the one in the camera is guff, and I’m sure I can just as well communicate what I was going to say in the video, in a more textual format. Plus, I’m a shitty-arse when it comes to copyright infringement, so a blog entry means I don’t have to rip the song off. Woohoo, and all that. So, with the formalities out of the way, let’s get down to it.

In 1972, Geordie folk-rock group Lindisfarne released a tribute to their home town in the form of a song, the aptly named “Fog on the Tyne”. Despite lyrics about signing on the dole, it pretty much became the band’s anthem, alongside “Meet Me On the Corner”. They would continue to have other hits through the 70s and 80s.

Fast forward to 1990. the world was gripped by Italia 90. The world cup, in other words. Gazza would be forever remembered for getting a yellow card, then bursting into tears during the match against West Germany, which meant he’d miss the final if England made it that far. Suddenly, the country had a hero. A footballer with emotion. His lacrimations were all in vain anyway, as we didn’t reach the final, and finished 4th. Oh well.

Now, I don’t know the reasons WHY this record got comissioned, I’m sure, that if it wasn’t for that yellow card, I wouldn’t be holding this single right now. Gazza was a Geordie, Lindisfarne were Geordies [citation needed], and what way to combine the two than to have them “sing” together on a record. Well.

I’ve actually owned a copy of this song since Xmas 1991. Back then, supermarkets weren’t commonplace. Certainly not as commonplace as they were now. After visiting my cousin Julie, who was living in Stockton at the time, we went to the “Somerville Hypermarket” (the greatest store for the way you live today… I’m so sad I still remember the radio jingle for it). This place was massive, and it was the first time I’d been to somewhere that sold everything you could think of. I remember being in the record section with my aunt Rose, and her picking up a tape for my uncle Jimmy, thinking he would like it. It was “The Hit Pack“. I couldn’t fault the logic at the time. There were a couple of 60s/70s songs on there, either re-released or covered by another band. “Fog On The Tyne” being one of those. There were other songs that wouldn’t have been up Uncle Jimmy’s alleyway… Deee-Lite? the Charlatans? My word, even the slightest mention of “Cubik” by 808 State would have sent his hearing aid into a frenzied panic of whistling.

Xmas time came, and I received a copy of this album. Hurrah! Maybe it was that actual same tape? I don’t know. I’m not bothered. I was happy to have a good copy of “Good Morning Britain” by Aztec Camera. The Gazza song is also on the tape version, but it rarely got played, and the song, for me, disappeared into obscurity.

Whilst in a charity shop in Stockton earlier this year, I picked up a copy. TEN WHOLE PENNIES. I got it home, only to find it had a crack right through the centre. TEN WHOLE PENNIES IN THE BIN. Luckily, during another charity shop dive, I picked up a copy for 40p, and that’s how I ended up with a vinyl copy of this staggering turd.

The cover features a shell-suited Gazza, with a pair of headphones apparently screaming into a microphone. the back of the cover features Gazza again, in a different shell suit, surrounded by the band, with the Tyne bridge as a backdrop. The record label is “Best Records”. I’ve not seen anything else by that record label, so whether it was set up just for that particular record, I do not know.

It says a lot when the people who mixed it wish to remain anonymous. The cover states “Mixed by BB and M”. Clearly, two people didn’t want this record on their CV.

So, the tune itself. Take a classic local song, slap a synthesized drumbeat / bassline over it and get a famous footballer to rap (or rather, speak) over the top of it, and you’ve pretty much got the song. Naturally, some words were replaced, the section about signing on the dole was replaced with Gazza “setting his sights on go-go-go-goals. The entire verse about urination was omitted from the new version.

the B-side is an uninteresting instrumental. the only thing missing is Gazza’s “Vocals”.

So, in conclusion, this song is like having a rock-hard shit. 3 minutes, 42 seconds of sheer, unbearable pain, followed by insurmountable relief when it’s all over.

Judge for yourselves…

It’s as if you just want to read about my buying records.

I normally abandon these posts where I’m typing away at the keyboard, and I clearly get drunker and drunker as the post goes on, but this seemed like a lot of text to waste, even if what I’ve written is painfully bad. Congratulations if you mate it to the end…. flashback to last Saturday in 3…2…1…

I know that it’s the 21st century, and that little round pieces of plastic aren’t fascinating to many people, but I don’t care. I’ve just discovered a few things today that are life-changing. In the sense that I’ve learned about them today, and I know they exist now and… oh, I don’t know where I was going with that whole “Life Changing” analogy.

As regular viewers to my twitter feed will know, I have been engaging in a project entitled “shit Shop Saturday”. That’s not to say that the shops themselves are shit, far from it, but I go out and buy music from charity shops in nearby towns. This is done solo, as nobody can put up with me rifling through charity shops. My only company is my phone, and an MP3 player, loaded with back catalogue episodes of Ron “Boogiemonster” Gerber’s radio show known as Crap From The Past. That radio show deserves its own blog entry, which I’ll get round to someday.

Anyway, back to “Shit Shop Saturday”. Last week was Newcastle, the week before Sunderland. I had pretty much exhausted the vinyl / CD capabilities of very local towns. It would appear I’d have to travel further away. Northallerton is a town pretty much on the border of “Have you got a mental defect?” How many people would travel 26 miles to buy crap?

Well, I can, quite honestly say, that I’ve been doing “Shit Shop Saturday” since June, and going to Northallerton was the best decision I’ve ever made. My first stop was a little charity shop I’d found by accident. Yorkshire Cancer Society, I think. I’ll probably check on Google Maps later and correct this if it’s wrong, but it was a good starting point. And, once again, I shall go off on a tangent about local radio to explain what I’ve bought…

I must have been about 14 or 15. Either way, it was the time that puberty was slowly turning my blondies into blackies. A 2-minute radio jingle was played on TFM (a now defunct-in-everything-but-name radio station) advertising the fact that “We Are Teesside” and, we are indeed, “The Future, We’re The Pride”. Maybe because my hormones were all over the place, or maybe it was just because I waqs just listening to too much radio at the time, and this stuck in my head, but I ended up really liking the afore-mentioned jingle. It was an over-produced piece with just a hint of charity-single about it.

Predictably, the jingle fell out of favour, and was eventually replaced by a less catchy tune, and both of them fell off the airwaves. I believe Middlesbrough FC continued to use the “we Are Teesside” music for their home football matches for a few years afterwards. They might still do. I have no idea. One thing I did know, is that “We Are Teesside” was released as a single. because I had it in my hands, right there and then, in that afore-mentioned charity shop.

[If I accidentally publish this without the photo, it’ll be coming soon]

So, the sticker states 30p. Be aware that I picked up this beauty for 25p. It wasn’t until I get it home that I’d knew what I’d get. Amazingly, it’s in the Collectorz database, so it might be more popular than I’m thinking, but anyway… here’s your track listing…

01 We Are Teesside (Squad Mix) 03:31
02 We Are Teesside (Footbal Mix) 03:29
03 We Are Teesside (Radio Mix) 02:01
04 The River Song 01:41

Track 1 is an extended version of the original jingle, with extra vocal sections either left out of the radio version, or recorded specifically to turn the TDC advertising tune into a football song, and a slightly revamped backing track), and I presume, Middlesbrough FC singing the “We Are Teesside, We’re the future, we’re the pride” bit.

Track 2 is worse. Instrumental version, but with radio commentary from TFM about them getting promoted to the Premire Footballs Group.

Track 3, thankfully, is the original radio jingle. It’s as good as I remember it, if not better.

Track 4 was the “replacement song”. When the radio execs tired of We Are Teesside, they comissioned another song. It wasn’t as good, and I can’t have heard it for 18 years, but instantly went “Ooooh, yeah, that song!” and then ejected the CD, because it wasn’t as good as “We Are Teeesside”.

So, that’s that CD explained, and I’ve already typed more than I should have. Back to Yarm then, and it’s fair to say that I trawled the length of the high street. Jamie S phoned me while I was in the 3rd shop, just before 11. The plan was, that I’d do my “Shit Shop Saturday”, and he’d pick me up, then we’d spend the rest of the day in Leeds. He said give him an hour to get out of bed ‘n’ shit, then he’d head off to pick me up. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, the snooze function on Jamie’s alarm click for one, as I’d spent another hour walking around the shops, and shot him a text to make sure he was still awake. Nothing. Nada. The only thing that appeared to be buzzing was the plague of wasps that had ascended onto Northallerton. You know me and wasps. I wasn’t impressed. I headed off down a sides treet. The only reason I went down this side street is that I wanted to know the name of a certain shop. Google Maps had blurred it out, and my OCD was kicking in. Turns out it’s a shoe shop, but I continued walking to the end of the road. On Google Maps, it’s an angling shop. In 2013, it’s a shop that rents out jukeboxes and has lots of records. Jamie hadn’t rang me back, so he was defintely still asleep. It gave me enough time for explorin’.

I went through as much as I could of the singles (amisuingly in a section the owner called “The Singles Bar”… how apt). I picked the ones I wanted, and the owner then informed me there was a load more upstairs. He really wasn’t wrong. There were lots up there. In all, I think I spent about two hours in the shop, collecting 24 singles in the process. That’s just the start. There’s a record fair in Northallerton in 2 weeks, which the gentleman behind the counter is organising. That date is officially now on the calendar. I just need to find out where Northallerton Town Hall is. It can’t be hard to find.

Anyway, the reason why I’ve typed all of this bollocks? Yes, there was a reason, and it’s all down to “Moonlight Shadow” by Mike Oldfield. It’s a popluar song in its down right, but I remember it as my first ever experience with a “faulty” record. Flashback further, before descended testicles. It’s Xmas 1991. I’d been given a hi-fi for Xmas, and we make our yearly trip to Aunty Linda’s. I was given some records to “record to tape”. One of them was “Moonight Shadow”, and its B-side “Rite of Man”. I remember, it had no label printed on the B-side, meaning it was my first experience of a “rare” record. Rare in the fact it was a manufacturing defect.

We gave the records back, but still the B-Side “Rite of Man”, remained with me as a catchy tune.

Internet years passed, and I eventually found a copy as an MP3. Instead of the normal fade-out you’d expect from the single’s B-side, this version somehow omits the fade, and literally, you hear the backing track stop, and they stop singing, and pretty much pack up their tambourines and go home.

I’ve alwqays been familiar with the UK pressing. It fades out. Miracles don’t happen. However, I was in that record shop today, and despite having the UK copy, I thought I’d pick up the French pressing. Green, moulded label, 50p, what could possibly go wrong?

Nothing, as it appears this version is the one with the faulty ending.

At this point, I must have wandered off, doing something else. For the record (hoho, see what I did there?), you CAN find this “broken” version on CD, as Moonlight Shadow was released as a very early CD single. So, er, there you go. I’ll write some other shit shortly.