That Was Entertainment pt.2… And “Now 4”

Ok, so maybe that last update wasn’t the last time Id visit a “That’s Entertainment” store. If you’ve not been following the blog, you won’t have known that this chain of cheap-arse record stores is “contemplating its future” on the high street. Well, that’s how their blurb stuck ot the front of the counter puts it anyway. The stores have already stopped selling “tech” products, such as mobile phones, tablets, etc. and are no longer accepting new stock.

Anyway, enough about the inevitable. A few weeks ago, I thought I’d take one last tour of the Stockton store. This was one of the better ones in the area for cheap CDs. They always had a large selection of the 49p CDs that I would crave.

After all of my years searching through these boxes, I found plenty, but nothingm I would consider “gold standard”. A diamond in the rough, as it were. Something told me, days before, that I must go to this store. I’m not really a believer in fate, or anything like that, but something bugged me for the entire week, telling me to go, even to the point where I would lie awake, waiting for Saturay to tick by.

Anyway, Friday night came, and I did a few “humorous” live broadcasts on Facebook. It was more of a test for something I have planned. I basically drank beer and played shit songs for about an hour. After the videos completed, I purposely stayed sober. I only had a couple of cans, and that was during the live things I did. Something was tugging at my mind that I just had to go to this store.

I awoke early on Saturday. Thinkfully, despite there being an accumulation of snow on the paths, the roads were clear, meaning that the buses were running from Hartlepool to Stockton. This is a two-leg journey, and the firt leg saw me get off at the town centre. A person, who seemed to have a habit of spitting, told me all about the wellies he qwas wearing, as they stop him from slipping over. It was a riveting conversation, and the 36 bus couldn’t come soon enough.

A normally dull bus ride was brightened by the sight of the local areas covered in snow. It was a surprisingly pretty sight, considering how desparate Teesside looks on your average day. Huge snow drifts stood at the side of the Greatham road – the likes of which we’ve never seen since Boxing Day 1995, and certainly not at the start of March, when the daffodils are meant to be poking though.

I arrive in Stockton, and I get off the bus. There was only one shop I was interested in. Normally, I’d head off to the charity shops, but my radar was firmly fixed on That’s Entertainment. My first glance was at the 30+ boxes of “sleeveless” CDs placed in the centre of the shop. My eyes lit up. It was like Christmas. My heart sank, however, when I realised they were still 49p each. Bugger.

I wouldn’t lie if I said I was a tad disappointed. The Middlesbrough store was going through the exact same turmoil, and they’d reduced their sleeveless stock to 10p.

I started going through them. Some average ones, some unknown ones that could be classics. Mostly filler and classical CDs that I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole. I was on to about the 3rd of 4th box, when I pulled out a CD. My heart stopped.

This wasn’t just any CD. This was one of the rarest CDs going. Namely “Now That’s What I call Music! 4”

For the uninitiated (I got the right word this time), “Now, That’s What I Call Music” is a thrice-yearly collection of chart hits and occasionally, exclusive remixes, that continue to be released to this day. At the time of typing, we’re up to “Now 99”. If you want a time capsule of 80s / 90s / 00s / 10s music, you can’t go wrong than picking up a few of these.

Way back in 1984, Now 4 came out on what was, at the time, the obscure CD format. Tapes and vinyl were, of course, the go-to choice, and CDs were some type of weird luxury that only rich people can afford. This pretty much lasted until the 90s, so a CD, back in 1984 was a clear rarity.

The “Now 4” CD does appear on ebay, but you’re looking at hundreds of pounds. Even Discogs, which is usually a little more sensible with the price, had the latest one selling for around £250, and here I was, holding it for 49p. Cor!

Of course, every story has a downside, and this one is that it’s “sleeveless” – there’s no case for it, so I have the bare CD in a plastic wallet. That probably knocks something like 90% off the value, but it proves it’s out there, and for those lucky bastards that do have a boxed copy, that’s one more out of the equation – yours probably just got that little more valuable! Saying that, for a CD to survive that long, especially without its case, is nothing short of miraculous.

Fast forward to the present day (You’ll probably be reading this on Good Friday), and I think that’s me done with “That’s Entertainment” for ever. Maybe I’ll have a trip down there tomorrow, depending on what services the buses are running, but seeing as I’ve bought approximately 250, that might take some time…

I forgot to write about a Youtube video…

If you’re reading this on Facebook, you might as well stop. Scroll down. Look at that post below this one, which is bound to be some bell-end spouting political bullshit, or a photo of some ugly kid, because I actually posted this on Facey B a few weeks ago, and entirely neglected to post it on here for both of my readers who don’t have facebook. Yes, it’s the video of the Hull trip, or more correctly, the hundred or so discs that I bought for a tenner.

I explain it all in the video. Enjoy, if you’ve not already seen it.

Thinning the herd… a CD giveaway

I’m giving away some of my CDs! If you live near me and want some of them leave a comment, facebook me, shot me a text, email, all that good stuff. Here’s the list.

The list

I intend to give them to a charity shop on Monday, so you’ve got the whole weekend to peruse the list.

And if you’re interested on why, well, it’s not that exciting. I just don’t listen to them. They’re taking up space in the front room that could quite easily be given to other CDs that have been hanging around the living room for the best part of 15 years since I discovered ebay, the internet and all stuff like that.

Most of them I bought in bulk, with the intention of keeping the good ones for myself, and then selling the rest on, on somewhere like ebay. I did list some of these multiple times, and they never sold, so they’ve just been languishing on a shelf ever since. They’ve also came from charity shops and various other second hand shops.

Their ebay days are over. If you took the entire bag from me, I doubt you;d make anything from them. Some of the cases are damaged, and there are light marks on some of the disks (they ripped fine, so they’re still useable, but their resale value would be nothing). I have neither the time nor inclination to grade them. I do have a stock of replacement CD single cases, so if you’re only after a couple, I’ll be happy to swap damaged ones for new ones

I’d rather give them to someone who’d give them a good home, and not attempt to sell them on… which makes me giving them to a charity shop rather hypocritical, but that would be for a good cause.

Four pound? Profound!

I’m, once again, going to dedicate this post to streetlighting and yet another musical purchase I’ve made, but hell, when I’m finished with that, and if I can be bothered, I’ll extend it to include some normal life stuff.

So, yesterday (Saturday), I was in York. I was dismayed to find that this fine example of a GEC z5590 burning SON has been replaced…

Trip to York, 24th July 2010. Stunningly warm day! A GEC Z5590 has picked up a little bit of a mowhawk! This would have been mercury originally, but like all of the ones around it, now running a dayburning SON lamp.
Trip to York, 24th July 2010. Stunningly warm day!
A GEC Z5590 has picked up a little bit of a mowhawk!
This would have been mercury originally, but like all of the ones around it, now running a dayburning SON lamp.

It was a fine example, drilled for a photocell, and everything. Ironically, it’s been replaced with a dayburning heritage lantern, with LED arrays as its light output. Shame.

I’m actually posting that news as an experiment to see who actually reads this page. I wonder how many people from work actually know I have a streetlight interest? I’ll hazard a guess at not many of them.

So, er, anyway. Onto the music. I’ve been a fan of Jan Hammer for many years, since I first heard “Crockett’s Theme”. I didn’t know anything about it at the time, and certainly didn’t know it was from Jan Hammer.Anyway, yesterday, I picked up one of his CDs. A CD I probably paid over the odds for, but I’d say it’s worth it, seeing as I’ve been after one of the tracks since I was 11 years old, and that track is “Payback”, the last track on the CD. I’ve never saw a copy of it on CD before, nor have I ever held one in my hand, and never actually owned it!

My love affair for that particular song started in 1991. I had, as I’ve done every year, recorded the grand national, but this year recorded some of the buildup too. The BBC used this particular track to show highlights of the previous two days racing. I’d recorded it, and instantly loved it. Obviously, back then, there was no way of being able to quickly identify a piece of music., and so it sat, rotting (literally) on the tape for years, eventually getting forgotten about.

One night, while flicking through the satellite channels, Miami Vice was starting, and would you believe it? The tune just happened to be featured in it. Naturally, armed with this information, I was able to narrow down my search somewhat, and eventually came across an MP3 of it.

Seems to be a regular story. I hear a song, ignore it for years, hear it in a place I wasn’t expecting, eventually track down on MP3, followed by a CD copy the song.

That, I thought, was the end of it. I had some time to kill while some files copied. I thought I’d listen to the entire CD. that is genuinely a rare occurrence. I normally buy a CD, listen to one track and ignore the rest. This one was Jan Hammer, so I knew, somewhere, there’d be a hidden pot of gold. And I wasn’t wrong.

I seem to have one of those things where my long-term memory is extremely strong. whether it’s a gift, or a curse, I haven’t decided, as it always seems I’m living in the past, but this CD played, and track 8 sparked my attention. It was a track called “The Runner”. Braincells flew into rewind mode. I knew it from an advert, going back as far as the 80s. It instantly reminded me of warm summer evenings, but I had a feeling I’d be the only one who recalled said advert. Off I go to Youtube, and typed in its name.

First result, third comment down…

“Anyone remember this music used in an advert for milk in the 80’s?”

The reply to that comment…

“Yes, they featured Bob Geldof in the late 1980s (about 1987/88). There are a couple of those adverts here on Youtube. Incidentally it was those adverts that brought me here. :-)”

Good lord. A buried memory from more than three quarters of my life ago, resolved in about two minutes. That was four pounds well spent. And now, a slew of youtube videos, that will undoubtedly die over time, and I won’t be bothered to fix them, but hey, they work now at the time of typing!

Here’s “Payback”, the track I bought the CD for…

And here’s “The Runner”….

And here’s advert 1, featuring the music.

Advert 2, the more memorable of the adverts, but with less music…

Weird musical things again.

Wow, two posts in as many days. You should be excited. Well, it is, until you find I’m going to warble on about music again. See, I’ve made another musical discovery.

Turn the clock back to 1989. I get my very first stereo the year before. It had a radio, cassette deck and nothing much else. One thing was important though, I could record things off the radio AND my own voice! And I did, in abundance. I still have tapes filled with radio clippings from the early 80s and early 90s.

One tape I had, was a Yashima brand tape. Chad will remember these (if he even reads these anymore) as they had a pungent aroma of cheese, had the inability to store Spectrum games, and were prone to snapping easily.

There are plenty of little snippets of music, some I’ve identified, some I pretty much wore out (particularly the 9 seconds of “The Way it Is” which was my only source of the song for about 5 years), and some I thought were too obscure to ever hear again, particularly this little snippet. It’s not even 2 seconds long. I’d some little searches in lyrics for possible solutions, and wouldn’t you know it, nothing even came close. Listening to that clip, it’s quite easy to pick up “Laa-aand of make believe” (oh, and yes, that’s a 9, possibly 10 year-old me shouting “testing”)

Up comes my bus ride to work this morning. It wasn’t unusual. I was listening to a 2003 episode of “Crap From The Past”, a US radio show, which I must talk about in greater detail later.

Up steps a particular song. Hey, I like the guitar intro of it, not bad. And, the vocals sounds strangely familiar… could that mystery line actually be in this song? The answer. YES! 41 seconds into it, that particular 1.6 seconds of audio is featured, and it turned out that the line was actually “No amount of make believe”. No wonder I couldn’t bloody find it.

Thanks to the wonderment of the interwebs, I can, of course, embed the entire song here, so you can listen to it. It’ll mean far less to you as it does to me, but still, you might enjoy it

Turns out the song was “Dreamland” by Australian band Midnight Oil. Now comes the tricky part…. trying to find the CD it was on. Oh, wait! I already HAVE the CD! Turns out I actually bought it 12 days ago, paid 40p for it and never even knew that song was on there!