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….

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.

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.

Jean Bennett Sings

UPDATE: March 2017 – Jean’s nephew David has posted a couple of comments, thanks to him for taking the time to comment and post her obituary, sadly she passed away in 2003. The mystery about the attire is also solved, thanks again for clearing that up!

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Who She?” The answer is, I don’t know. I just happened to be flicking through my records in order to catalogue them, and this one appeared…

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It was part of a bag of records given to me by a friend. As you can see, at some point during its life, it has been used as a chew toy by a mischeivous puppy, which means the vinyl really doesn’t fare much better. Due to its condition, and the fact I’ve never heard of Mrs Bennett, it almost went into the big green charity shop in the sky (aka, the wheelie bin), but something’s made me keep hold of it. There’s a mystery surrounding it. I can’t find anything about her. At all. A few places have this record for sale on the internets (no, I’m not on the lookout for a replacement copy), but there’s no information on the lady, at all. the record doesn’t have a date on either, so I’m not even sure how old she would be now. If she’s still alive, that is, which I hope.

Somewhere in this terrace of unassuming, yet incredibly expensive houses, is number 76, the registered address of Nevis Records. Doesn’t really look like the type of place to be churning out platinum discs by the skipload, but let me give you the spiel on the back of the record…

This album by Jean Bennett has been made in response to the many demands from her fans. It contains many of the songs for wich Jean is known so well.

Lancashire born and living in Blackpool, Jean’s popularity is nation wide.

The expert opinion of Nevis Records producer Jim McLean and the musical direction by Nicky Welsh has combined to make this a Jean Bennett Classic.

Right you are, then. I’ll take your “expert” word for it. Now, the stylus on my record deck is broken anyway, so I’m going to play myself a couple of tracks. I’m not too bothered if I hit a canine-induced crater. Track 1, “On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep” is a no-go. the teeth marks are too deep to even attempt it, so let’s start with Track 2, “Bless This House”…

One thing that strikes me straight away is that this record is badly manufactured. It’s off-centre, which means everything’s wobbling about, making it sound off-pitch.

I played that side to the end, and although not my cup of tea, it was acceptable. There are probably worse ones out there. Either way, I’d love to know what happened to old Jeano, and if there are any fans of hers still out there… and can anyone explain those clothes she’s wearing?

Here’s the track listing for this album…

A
1. ON MOTHER KELLY’S DOORSTEP
2. BLESS THIS HOUSE
3. MARTA
4. IF I WERE A RICH MAN
5. SUNSHINE OF YOUR SMILE
6. MATCHSTICK MEN

B
1. PEOPLE (WHO NEED PEOPLE)
2. WHAT I DID FOR LOVE
3. IT MUST BE HIM
4. LOVE IS ALL
5. SALLY
6. FOR ALL WE KNOW

UPDATE 4/2/2017 – 2016 imagery for the houses, couple of typos fixed

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.