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.

Barnsley. Record buying, broken trees, and broken cars.

It appears that some people actually DO want to read about my purchasing of records. No, I can’t believe it either. Some of you may know that a week or two ago, I was lucky enough to visit the town of Barnsley. It all started because Daddykins wanted to buy some “radio equipment” and asked if I fancied a run down. Of course, the answer to this was yes, on one condition, I’d get to spend some time scurrying around the charity shops like a rat in a sewer, while he does what he needs to do, and then sits in the car, miserable as sin.

Seeing as Daddykins drives like Miss Daisy these days, the journey there hardly gets fast enough to get interesting. On the way down, he was talking to a DJ who used to work on TFM called Gary. Never found out his surname. That really was as exciting as the journey there got. I did enjoy it though, as it’s not very often I listen to Radio 2, but when I do, they usually have good music on. And by that, I mean old shite.

Naturally, before the jorney began, I’d hunted down some charity shops, so I’d have some knowledge of where I’m going. Google Maps did its job, and directed us to the shop he needed to go to, and also how I’d waste some of my time. Hurrah. It’s not often I get to visit a town on my own without someone else whinging over my shoulder at how bored they are, so I was going to make the most of it. I even considered turning my phone off, but Daddykins was going to ring me when he was done, and as I didn’t fancy a train home from a town I’m not familiar with, I kept it on.

I left Daddykins to do what he needed to do, and I added in the general direction of the shop I’d spied. It took me through a shopping centre, of whose name escapes me. Alambra? There’s possibly a H in there somewhere, but seeing as I have no regular readers in Barnsley (as far as I know), that will probably remain a mystery.

My internal Charity Shop GPS kicked in, and I was soon near the shop I’d spied from the road, but first a dive into a previously undiscovered “Age UK”. I’d picked up a few CD singles. The guy who served me almost creamed his pantaloons at the site of “You Do Something To Me” by Paul Weller. Admittedly, a nice find, but it was a bit scratched, and the case had seen better days. Same with the 1996 version of “big River” by Jimmy Nail. I’ve yet to play it, so I have no idea what the difference between this and the 1995 version are.

Onto Sense. This was the one I’d spied from the road, and, sadly, most of its CDs came from the awful feature that some charity shops have, of getting “replay” CDs. It’s usually exactly the same stock you see in Poundland, but for twice the price (£2 then – Ed.) Yes, precisely. If it comes pre-wrapped in cellophane, it doesn’t belong in a charity shop. There, rant over.

I did manage to score the theme to “The Wind In The Willows” on 7″, sung by Ralph McTell, for 75p. I have very hazy recollections of the show as a kid, so this was a nice find.

Those were the charity shops I’d known about, out of the way. the rest of the day would be a complete guess, except for a “Cash Generator” I’d spied on Google Maps, so I’d headed in the general direction of where I thought it was. Eventually, I’d found it. A complete waste of a walk. Quite a few DVDs, about 6 LPs and no CDs. Bugger again.

Slightly dejected, I headed back towards the shopping centre, as I’m sure Daddykins would be contacting me soon. I checked my phone. 3 texts saying he was ready. Whoops.

I rang him back, just as I’d hit a “rich vein” of charity shops, but there were about 5 in a row. The conversation went something like this…

“Yeah, I’m nearly done, I’ll just check this shop out, and oh, hello!”

I’d walked into “Cancer Research”, and my eyes darted over to shelves full of 7″ singles apparently in great condition, aaaaaand, at about £3 a pop, my heart sank. What didn’t make it any better was the fact they were CRAMMED into the shelves, making browsing pretty much impossible. Plus, there was some old guy who seemed to be persistent in holding the best position in front of these records. I abandoned them. I have many thoughts on charity shops that don’t know how to price records.

There were a couple of other shops I checked out. I could have picked up an original 1987 pressing of Kylie Minogue’s first album on CD, but I already have it, so decided to save the 33p. This was the last weekend before pay day, so I really was watching the pennies. Admittedly, it was another shop with a wacky pricing structure.

I phoned Daddykins, saying I was on the way back. He’d happened to be speaking to the guys in the shop where he was at, who said there was an antiques centre just over the road from where he was parked, and that it was a decent pace for records. I was intrigued, but knowing about these type of places, I had a feeling the records would have been overpriced, and pretty much scrap. the weather had dried up by this point, so I’d dropped the small collection of records I’d collected, and bribed a look around the afore-mentioned shop by presenting Daddykins with the last bite of a sausage roll and a bottle of coke. It did the trick, but I promised I’d be straight out if they weren’t up to my pricing grade or quality standard.

They were, and I admit I’d felt a little guilty as I had a proper rummage in the crates. First one out was the 12″ of “For America” by Red Box. A song I don’t expect anyone reading this to know, but yes, I like it.

then came the find of the day. For years, my friends know I collect crap music, and have suggested titles that I’ve somehow eventually tracked down. One had evaded me. A piece of plastic so deplorably cheap that they could only print the cover in black and white. A truly disgusting specimen that would probably survive a nuclear holocaust, along with Formica and cockroaches.

I’ve yet to play it. Instead, I’m saving it for a special edition of “I Bet You Don’t Like This”. I’m aware it’s on Youtube, but actually playing a physical copy of it is much worse.

So, we left Barnsley, in pretty much the same state we found it, minus several records and a piece of radio equipment. Daddykins decided to head towards Doncaster on the way out, as it’s apparently easier to get home, or something. It’s a change of scenery from the way down, so nothing wrong there.

Except for when we happened to pass under a tree, just as the branch became detached. THUD. I do try to keep my expletives under control around Daddykins, but even I couldn’t help but let out a “Fucking hell!” A split second earlier and it had went through the windscreen.

Although it doesn’t look like much, apparently, it’s not a cheap fix, as although the bumper popped right back in place, it’s also knocked the headlight out of place, broke the clips, and oh god, we should have just got the bloody thing delivered….

Goodbye local radio…

I wasn’t planning to write a blog post tonight, however, I’ve just learned that the local commercial radio station for Teesside, is about to close its doors for the final time. As of Monday, TFM and Metro Radio will merge. And, despite not listening to it for many years, I will certainly miss its presence.

Thanks to a shock announcement this morning, (or probably yesterday morning by the time I finish blabbering on about my memories of the place)it was announced that their offices will close.

As much as I say I don’t listen to it NOW, and my memories are all happy ones. I can even remember as far back as when it was Radio Tees. Barely. There are some tapes kicking around the house that remind me of this fact.

It’s quite coincidental that earlier today, I was, once again, converting some old tapes from the 90s. Listening to them made me go back to the good times. It was when local radio WAS local. Phone-ins existed. Music didn’t just some off a big server. There had to be someone there to swap the CDs, play the jingle tapes, satisfy the advertisers. It was a world where you got to know the DJs. They, in rare occasions, would even do stuff for you.

Flashback to 1998. “Angel” by The Quest Project had been scheduled for release. On September 7th 1998, I was inside the local record shop (don’t get me started on the demise of THOSE!) for 9AM the day it opened, and canned the shelves. No sign. Odd. I even asked the guy at the counter. He checked their new releases list, nothing there either. It had sank without a trace. Even the radio stations had stopped playing it.

After “Tom’s Talk-in” fell off the airwaves, it was up to the guy who answered the phones, Richard Kell, to man the desks for a while, I contacted him through email and asked if he knew what had happened with it. He didn’t, but he’d check with the station to see if they had a spare copy, and gave me a direct number to call him. I did, and unfortunately, he wasn’t able to track down one. He did, however, play the song for me on the radio. I was the happiest person alive for four whole minutes!

Richard left, Tom Davies returned, Tom left again, and I never really listened to the station again. Onn the odd occasion that I’d spin the dial and it’d land on 96.6, it just wasn’t TFM anymore. Technology was obviously moving faster than my listening style was accustomed to. It seemed that every show was either broadcast nationally, or prerecorded. It was now easier to copy and paste a show together, than it was to have a guy sat there with a box of CDs, a few jingles and a smile on his face. Its target audience age kept getting younger and younger, and this type of rubbish programming is acceptable to them. Allegedly.

Despite this, the frequency is still automatically programmed in pretty much every radio we own. It’s TFM. It’s local, even if I keep expecting to hear traffic reports from Barney the sodding Dinosaur.

So, back to the memories. The roadshows were a great hit with me. These are the days before internets, so being able to see what the presenters looked like was a rare occurrence. Just like every walk of like, some look like you expect them to, some don’t. the first one I went to was a TFM-organised one, and the headline act was… erm, PJ and Duncan, now formally known as Ant and Dec. There was me, and my mate Ste. I was 14, he was a couple of years younger. We hung around long enough to see them play “let’s Get Ready to Rhumble”, and then disappeared onto the beach to bury each other in the sand, and play Ridge Racer in the arcades.

I remember one particular roadshow. It was literally, the worst planned roadshow of all time. They’d planned to have it at the Hartlepool College of FE. Wow, this’ll be great, you’d think. A college? Loads of listeners there! Whoever booked it, can’t have explained which car park they had in mind… it was the staff car park. Honestly, there were four people there, and two of them were me and Chris. In fact we just happened to be talking about it the other day. One of the DJs at that roadshow would go on to have one of the best “breakdowns” in radio history. I’m not talking about technical breakdowns, I’m talking mental He shall remain nameless, for the fear of this incident appearing in search results for him.

Anyway, it’s a normal afternoon show. I’m in my usual position, huddled over my Amiga, with TFM providing musical accompaniment. A remake of Leo Sayer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” starts playing. I don’t think much of it. Probably listenable. Not much else. It fades out and starts playing again. A bit odd. The song comes to an end again, and the DJ pipes up… “I’m not really supposed to do this, but they won’t allow this song on the air, and I think it’s going to be massive, so here it is again”. The song plays for a third time. By this time, things were starting to escalate. The song fades out, and there’s chaos. Banging on the studio windows can be heard. He continues to talk. “Sometimes you have to stand up to what you beilieve in radio, and this is going to be a massive hit for Leo Sayer… *bang bang bang bang*… I’m just gonn….”

There is silence, followed by static, as presumably they’d cut the power to the station / transmitter. This continued for about 15 minutes before things started to come back online. Robert Miles’ “Children” played through a rather low quality loop, presumably to keep the link to the transmitter open while everything starts back up. The “Programme Controller” for the station announces his apology that a presenter “overstepped the mark”, and oddly, the incident was never mentioned again, I believe the DJ in question actually went on to remix a Leo Sayer song, featuring on the CD single of the track.

Well, I’ve overstepped my personal 1,000 word limit quite nicely, and seeing as this update doesn’t have any photos, I’d be surprised if anyone has made it I LOVE MY MAN TITS this far down, so I can probably get away with inserting a humorous message somewhere in this sentence. I shall continue, as it’s a subject dear to my heart. Let’s continue at around the 1998 mark.

There was an announcement by the station that they were selling off all of their old records. A radio station? Records? Element? I was indeed in it. One slight problem. I was on the dole, or in college, earning a pittance for doing placements. Back then, money was something other people had. Still, Chris and I (ooh, the grammar nazis would be proud), headed over to Thornaby, more exactly, to Yale Crescent, the home of TFM. There were boxes and boxes of records. Singles, album’s 12″s, the lot. I spent a good few hours there, and knowing I only had literally pounds to my name, game away with a handful of singles, all labeled up with the old Radio Tees logos, cardboard sleeves, and handwritten notes of chart histories of the records, and if they were featured on any shows. I picked up Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”, with all of the stickers, and notes that it was Alistair Pirrie’s pick of the week when it was released.

My favourite purchase of the day would have to be the 7″ version of “Stainsby Girls” by Chris Rea. this was the original version, as opposed to the remixed version that seems to be the one on all of the Greatest Hits CDs. Unfortunately I managed to break it a few years back, so I don’t have it anymore, but I still remember the record, where I first got it, and more importantly, hearing it being sang live when I went to see Chris Rea play last year.

I may bore you with more TFM memories over the coming days, as I know you’re dying to hear them (this is more of a niche entry than my usual shite!)but I’ll finish by giving an update on theleast few posts. Daddykins is once again being a pain in the arse. Back to normal, then. Senta (aka, Dog 1, aka Wobblydog) continues to improve. She is almost, but not quite, okay. Today has been the first time in a week she’s eaten from her bowl. I’ll keep updates on separate posts from now on, but thought I’d tag that onto the end for those who made it this far.

UPDATE 4/2/17: Graham Robb wrote a blog, but this has since been moved or deleted, and sadly Alistar Pirrie recently died. We also lost Senta in September 2014. Also fixed approximately 146 typos.

Expires: Jul 19, 2017

Well, I’ve just bought myself a Collectorz Connect account. that means I’ll shortly be putting my music database online PROPERLY, and it’ll probably be around for many years to come. Unless, like all internet-based services, is that it’ll die a complete death long before then.

I’ve been using a piece of software to manage my music collection for some time now, and I’ve made a few half-arsed attempts to get the damn thing online. These have been mainly down to the difficulty of the “export” feature of the software. It outputs HTML files, which aren’t easily searchable, aren’t exactly beautiful, and weren’t the ideal option. Uploading involved exporting to a directory, creating a tarball of the files, uploading to the server, untaring via a shell, and hoping, nay praying I managed to get the command right. If I didn’t, it would usually mean I’d overwrite a file somewhere on the site. There was a time I managed to create an 80Mb HTML file of complete garbage by doing this. Not ideal.

Therefore, I hope this is a better solution.

It’s not ideal, as I don’t host it myself, but this solution will last until 2017. That means it’ll probably outlive this site, the majority of my music collection, and the amount of times I’ve been in and out of the doctors and/or hospital in 2012, it’ll probably outlive me. Er, on the plus side, it takes me one click to update the database, and I still have the ability to share just that little bit more about my favourite music, even if both of my readers couldn’t actually care less.

Feel free to browse the collection here:-

http://connect.collectorz.com/users/scribbler/music/view

No doubt that’ll replace the “Collection” link in the sidebar, if and when I can be bothered to do it.

Music was my first love…

Judging from many of the posts on the site, you can’t fail to notice that I’m a bit of a collector when it comes to music. I’ve mentioned how it all began quite a few times. I was 11 years old. Daddykins came into possession of an old record player, and gave me a few old record to play on it. Really old records.

I obviously wanted something more “my style”. A fun day was held at the now-demolished Queens pub. One of the stalls was selling records. I bought one. It was “Secret Garden” by T’Pau. I also bought an album, but I won’t tell you what it was.

No siree, I will not mention, at all, that the first album I ever purchased was “Ten Good Reasons”, by Jason Donovan. No, I’ll never do that.

Anyway, since those fateful purchases, I have allowed my music collection to grow massively, to the point where it can barely be contained in the walls of Mercuryvapour Towers. Something I have always struggled with, is the ability to actually *tell* what I have, never mind know which tracks are on which CDs / albums / records.

I’ve made attempts in the past. Firstly, these were on paper, and pretty pointless, as I only had about 20 records. I probably did one on my Amiga, definitely did one on my old green screen 8086 PC, using Dbase III. I promptly forgot the password for the database, however.

My record collecting started to grow during the 1990s. I began to earn my own money, and promptly discovered the flea market and car boot sales. I collected a lot.

The internet was the “next big thing” when it came to my record / CD collecting. Ebay opened up new opportunities of “collecting”, and I’d often buy boxes of CDs / records, just to get a couple of songs I wanted. This may look like a false economy, but it really wasn’t. Every single time I bought a “batch”, there’d be CDs in there I didn’t know I wanted (as in, tracks I didn’t notice the name of), and ones I could resell to make the money back.

Someone in Italy paid £17.50 for a CD single I paid the equivalent of 20p for. Woooo, etc. I think I spent it on booze the very same night.

My collection grew, and it became clear I had no actual idea what I owned anymore. On 26th December 2005, I started the gallery. I took photos of every CD I could lay my hands on, uploaded them to the gallery, and added track listings. It was, however, just a gallery. It’s not designed to be a music collecting tool. Although it was functional, it was messy. I still have it online here, but its days are numbered.

OK, so I at least had a temporary way of cataloguing CDs, but what about records? By this time, I was in a similar situation with the vinyl. It was unorganized, and all over the place.

Whilst on jury duty in 2008, I set up plans for a database. There really was nothing better to do. I tapped my ideas into my phone, and within a few hours, had a working template for it. It’s still in use to this day, and looks a little something like this…

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Bigger picture on clicky-to-flickr, naturally. I didn’t realise I had that many Diana Ross singles either. Even I raised an eyebrow when I noticed that.

I’m 573 words into this, and I haven’t even explained why I’m telling you all this… I’ve started cataloguing it all again. In what could only be described as a moment of fever-induced insanity, I bought the “Music Collector Pro” software from collectorz. It has some useful features such as the ability to look up bar codes, cover scans and generate listings of what CDs and records you have. You can even run graphs on them…

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Of course, as you can see, this list is nowhere near complete. I have a stack of records to go through, as well as over 1000 7″ singles. I have no idea how it’s going to cope with that.

I’m also sure you’ll want to see the collection as it stands now. Here’s a HTML view of the collection as it stands. There are a number of empty images. I’ll correct these as time goes on.

I’m also sure that somewhere in Japan, Chad’s just lost the contents of his testicles after reading this utterly fascinating post.