Oh look, more records!

As promised, I thought I’d do another update on my charity shop purchases and days out. This week, there weren’t really that many. I didn’t do much on the Saturday. in fact the only place I went, was to Tesco to pick up a ready-cooked chicken, Therefore the rest of the day was spent with my face covered in the product of the rotisserie oven. Not much happening there.

Sunday was different, however.  There was a record fair in Durham… I’d remembered about it only a couple of days before, and Chris offered to give me a lift there. Woo, and indeed hoo.

The Durham record fair is never a big affair. I think I’ve mentioned about it before, there’s just a small section of a sports hall that’s netted off, while the rest of the place still is still used for badminton…

There was one stall that had quite a few boxes singles on it, at £1 each. It’s more than I normally like to pay for a single, but well, I thought I’m only here once, and there were some classics in there, such as Trevor and Simon (yes, THAT Trevor and Simon) covering a Donovan song (can’t remember which one off the top of my head) “Sky High” by Jigsaw… “I was made for Dancing” by Leif Garrett, and a couple of others that don’t spring to mind. I might edit this into a list later on… If there’s no list, then I couldn’t  be bothered. (EDIT: I couldn’t be bothered)

The Jigsaw and Leif Garrett songs are ones I’ve only just became familiar with in the last 6 months, thanks to an online “radio station” that I listen to quite regularly. Surprised I didn’t know them, as they were relatively big hits, reaching no. 4 and no. 9 respectively.

Also picked up another copy of the “Auf Weidersehen Pet” series 1 soundtrack. This wasn’t the one I had on tape as a kid, but instead contains the incidental music from the program. Been after a cleaner copy of “The Fire” from the final episode where the “hut borns doon”

So, onto Durham itself. This was a warm, if overcast Autumn day. There were only two charity shops open, so I think we only spent about half an hour there. I didn’t end up getting anything from there, except for a nice photo or two.

It was still incredibly early at that point, so on the way back, we made a detour to Peterlee. Despite being only a small town, it has its fair share of charity shops. There’s a huge Sue Ryder shop there. It’s pretty expensive too, so once again, I came out empty handed. There’s a large “Home Bargains” store next door, and I managed to pick up 5 of these for a quid.

You might notice there’s slightly more than 5 there. Turns out they’re absolutely brilliant for cleaning the muck, mould, shite and usually, for some unknown reason, dried blood, off the CDs that come from the charity shops. In fact, they’re so good, I went to the Hartlepool shop and picked up another 10 cans, and I might pick up more tomorrow. For that price, you literally can’t go wrong, and I’ll always need CD cleaning products.

Onto the main shopping precinct in Peterlee. It’s a depressing sight. This shop (which, until a couple of months ago used to be a British Heart Foundation) pretty much says it all.

I did notice that there’s a “Farplace” charity shop opened there too, which is great – they’re rapidly becoming my favourite chain of shops. It was closed, however, so I might have to make a detour there at some point.

The YMCA was open here, and I picked out a few singles from this batch. They were very well thumbed, and the covers were all an absolute state, but the vinyl itself didn’t look too bad.

Last stop in Peterlee was the “other” British Heart Foundation… Now, Peterlee is the same as most towns… Or at least it was. Two BHF stores. One that sells your standard charity shop clothes and bric-a-brac, and another, often much larger one that sells furniture only. Now, probably because the smaller shop had closed down, this larger shop had a very small selection of CDs. They had £1 stickers on, but the bloke out the back said he’d do three for a quid. Obviously, the person behind the till didn’t get the memo, as he tried to charge me £3…nah mate, I advised him to have a word with the guy out the back, and indeed, he then only charged me £1. Now I await the barrage of 0 comments calling me a greedy fecker.

Last stop of the day was another YMCA… The one in Hartlepool. I’ve had good results from this shop in the past… The items don’t get sorted as much as some other shops, so you can end up with some quality finds….

Something that I’ve been collecting for a little side project, are “knock-off” CDs. Take the songs from a famous artist, get someone else to record them in the style of the original singer, and sell them for much cheaper. These have been around since recorded music became a thing

A prolific manufacturer of these is/was Prism Leisure. I have no idea if they’re still in business, but, like this one, they released CDs along the lines of “Hits of {artist} as performed by Studio 99”

I have a couple of these now. Corrs, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, to name but a few, and they’re all absolute garbage! I have others too, the collection is coming along quite nicely.

And finally, I bought this.

I don’t think this needs explanation!

Happy 21st birthday to this blog!

21 years. That’s a lot to take in. I’d have been sat in a very similar position this time on Sunday, 4th November 2000, behind a keyboard with my legs underneath a desk, as I open my Blogger account, and begin typing about my day, my dreams, my banal, inane life as a 20-yr old Hartlepudlian. At 41, however, the world is a completely different place, and I’m a different person. Everything electrical has a blue LED in it…. Back then, they’d have only been invented 7 years ago. Blogging is a completely different scene too I had friends with blogs, but they’ve all come and gone. the rise of Myspace, and Twitter, then Facebook and Youtube quickly put paid to spending hours toiling over a keyboard. You could allow your audience to have small chunks of your mind without committing reams and reams of text to the ether.

As you know, I don’t really post much on here now. I used to joke about my “both of my readers”, but it’s ofrficially down to zero. I’ve not had a comment on a new post for years now. the only comments that come in now are hits from Google. I suppose I have to type something for people to read, but when I spend hours and get no feedback, it seems such a waste.

Privacy is also an issue. It’s naturally not a good idea to post stuff about myself in as much detail as I used to. I genuinely would have liked to post a lot more about the struggle I had with my foot, but maybe not a good idea to post *everything* in a public forum.

I know I say this every years, but I do have plans. Maybe go into more of a “Charity Shop Shit” type vibe, and start talking about the crap I’ve picked up in charity shops. Make that the permanent fixture. At least after 21 years of doing this bollocks, the bloody site will have a theme of some sort.

I’m sure you’ll be interested to know (lie) that I still do “blog” now, it’s it’s all private. I like “photo hoarding” where I take hundreds of photos when I’m out somewhere, and then add the details to the photos themselves via the IPTC information… Here’s an example from last Saturday…

A day out to the charity shops around Guisborough, Stokesley and Redcar. A particularly cold October day, there was definitely autumn in the air. Another decent haul of CDs, especially from the Herriott charity shop in Stokesley. An amusing part of the day was in the first charity shop we visited, “Frade” in Guisborough. I asked for a carrier bag, got given the pinkest, most floral “carrier bag” I’ve ever seen. Couldn’t have got rid of it quicker, but at least it made a good photo opportunity.
Might put it as my facebook profile pic.

Right, so that’s the celebration over with. I can’t believe I’ve kept it going for so long… here’s to another 21 years! There’s a chance I might have received that fucking Desmonds record by then…

Your order has been dispatched…

It’s taken nearly 5 months, but today I received confirmation that my vinyl copy of the DEsmonds theme is on its way…

“Hey!

Just a quick note to say that Happy People Records shipped your order and it’s now on its way:

Norman Beaton – Don’t Scratch My Soca (Desmonds TV Theme Tune) 7″: Ltd. edition coloured 7″, by Happy People Records
Record/Vinyl”

I can’t believe this is literally the only thing I’ve had to blog about for the past 6 months (lie: there’s been loads of stuff, but the only hits on this site now are from bots, so what’s the fucking point?) but even this could be coming to a close! I shall, of course, do an update when it lands through the portcullis of Mercuryvapour Towers.

Desmond still hasn’t arrived yet.

You may remember in my last post (if you don’t, just scroll down a little), I talked about getting the theme tune to Desmonds on Vinyl, and how excited I was at this particular series of events… you may have also noticed that I haven’t updated you with anything since then… and that’s because there’s nothing to report. As you can guess by the title of the post, it still hasn’t arrived. I’ve bugged the vendor who have said there’s been difficulties in manufacture, and the latest date they have is September 15th.

I did hear back from the producer of the record, which is nice, so I’ll include a bit of that if and when the record arrives, as it gives a nice little insight into the origin of the theme.

In other news, as I haven’t really been blogging much, I had another operation on my foot a couple of months ago (I don’t think it was long after I bought that Desmonds record), and my foot is healed. I just hope it stays that way.

I didn’t really do a blog about it… initially I intended to, but it literally was about as uneventful as things go. Of course, I did talk about the operation, so in order to pad this out a little, let’s flash back to the start of June…. (cue wibbly effects)…

Oh, and if you don’t like reading about operations, just skip bast the bold section below…

Strap yourselves in, folks, as things are about to get graphic. No photos thankfully. I don’t think they’d have liked me updating Facebook with photos.

Anyhoo. There I am, in the theatre, flat to the boards, with my left leg in the air. My only view was of the three ceiling lights, and a load of pipes, presumably for oxygen and stuff.

In goes the cannula. A device whose name escaped me until just now.

My leg was smothered in KY Jelly. Trying to take my mind off things, I wondered if that was a brand name, or just a general term. I never bothered looking it up, but by the time this goes “to print”, I’m sure I will have. (EDIT: I didn’t.)

There was talk about arteries, and I could feel some device pressing on my leg. I’m guessing this was some type of ultrasound. Dunno for certain, as my view was still of the ceiling.

It was then that the injections started, obviously for the anaesthetic. Pretty much felt like I was a dartboard at that point. I could feel each one going in, followed by a strange sensation I can’t describe, sort-of like everything was going tight.

The anaesthetist would be verbally confirming how much he was giving me, millilitres by millilire, and I guess he wasn’t allowed to just bung the whole lot in one go.

I still had sensation in my feet, like I could acknowledge when the specialist prodded something, but there was no feeling. They tested it with cold spray. Nothing. It was so weird.

Then, the operation itself began. It started with a few crunching noises. It initially sounded like he was cutting my big toenail. Whenever I get that particular nail done at the podiatrists, it always makes a satisfying crunch. Not this time, however, he was more than likely breaking my toe in order to be able to fuse it. Lovely.

It was at that point tried to think of anything other than what was happening around me… My music collection come to mind, and I thought of a way to improve my personal MP3 database (I have an SQL database with the details of my CD rips in them. it should be trivial to include a link to the music files themselves, to save me having to copy and paste the filename each time… In case you were wondering).

In a vain hope to take my mind off the noises even further (and the fact the specialist was now clearly using a screwdriver on my foot) I had a brief conversation about my music collection. I mentioned I had a copy of Manuel from Fawlty Towers singing “Shaddap You Face”. I’m not sure if the guy was impressed or just feeling sorry for me.

At this point, my view changed. They adjusted the bed so I was no longer starting at the ceiling. This was a bit more comfortable.

Now, obviously, I still couldn’t see exactly what was going on, as they had a screen up… Oh, wait. I could see exactly what was happening

Now, you know those big operating theatre lights? (These ones were manufactured by a company called Getinge, which made me think of someone saying “Get In” whilst pissed) Naturally, you can’t see anything in the reflection of the lights, as they’re all concave, but the reflection of the white shiny arm that connected the lights to the ceiling gave me the PERFECT view.

Thankfully, it was pretty much over at this point, but still, they had to sever the tendon and sew everything back together. It’s one of those things were you can’t NOT watch….

I could either just stare straight ahead at the blue cloth, or I could look to my top right and watch all the action. “Oooh, that’s a lot of blood”. I can’t even watch anyone get injected, I nearly snap my neck away from the telly every time a COVID story comes on the telly, so exactly why this proved so fascinating shall remain a mystery. Maybe I was “getting high on my mortality” as Sinead Lohan once sang.

In record collecting news, I’ve been out buying lots more CDs. Seems quite a few places have had a glut of CD donations and are therefore getting rid of them pretty cheaply. I haven’t had that much luck with the boot fairs – obviously my access to these has been limited too, but I did pick up The World of BBC TV Themes for 50p. This is the only known release that includes the full length theme to “Rockcliffe’s Babies”, performed by Paul Hart, Joe Campbell and the children from the Corona Stage School. Who’d have thought they’d have became so famous over the past two years? Oh, wait.

So, yeah. That’s been a very quick life update. Esentally, nothing’s happened for months…. nothing’s new there, then.

The theme tune to Desmond’s

Waaay back in the late 1980s, there was a comedy show called “Desmond’s”, following a family running a barber’s shop in Peckham. It aired from 1989 until the death of the lead actor, Norman Beaton, in 1994.

It would come to no surprise (to both of my regular readers anyway) that I was a fan of the theme tune, and of course, it’s one of the things that stood out to me. I loved it, and it was one of my favourite parts of the programme. It was one of those theme tunes that should have been released as a single, but it wasn’t.

Every year or so, I’d do a quick Google to see if a proper copy, or even an extended version of the theme had been leaked anywhere. Nope. The only things that ever turned up were just off-air, or off DVD recordings. Nothing more than the 45 seconds used at the start of the programme, and the instrumental bit used in the credits at the end. I came to the conclusion that it was only ever used on the programme, especially as it was co-written by the creator, Trix Worrell.

I think I went though one of these search things most recently anout a year ago, when for absolutely no reason, the theme started to be used in an advert for butter. This rekindled my love for the theme, and got me thinking, there had to be an “official” version. As the show ended in 1994, it’s unlikely that it would still exist some 26ish years later, and it certainly sounded better quality than it just being ripped from a copy of the programme.

Once again, I searched high and low (or rather, I searched Youtube), and found nothing. What’s even weirder, is that the full episodes that had been uploaded to Youtube now had the theme tune removed. How very, very odd. Considering that its only use outside of Desmonds was on a butter advert, it seemed very odd that it would just suddenly disappear like that. Obviously someone still owns the copyright to the song, so it could have just been that they didn’t want it on youtube, but why would they object to the theme being on there, but still allowing the rest of the episode to survive? It seemed clear that someone else had the rights to the song now, than what they did when Desmond’s was recorded. Were they planning a re-release?

Again, the trail went cold. No song, no videos on Youtube (except for poor quality versions), no more butter advert, and no release. I put it to the back of my mind. It was never going to see the light of day. A quarter of a century had gone by.

Now, I’ve been holed up for the past 4 weeks, thanks to an operation on my foot. I’ve barely been able to move off the sofa for a month, so I’ve became acquainted with an old friend called “Television”. Tonight (or yesterday by the time this makes it “to air”), I was watching The Chase, and the butter advert made a reappaearance. Just out of complete boredom, I flung “Don’t Scratch My Soca” into Google. Up came a result for Bandcamp. It was 3 minutes long. I didn’t expect much, just a fan remix or something like that. Imagine my surprise when, not only was it the proper version used on Desmond’s, it had a second verse! This was the moment I’d waited over 30 years for. All of the bits were there… the main theme, the bit they fade out when the episode starts, the end theme, and of course, that never-heard second verse. Daddykins, who happened to be enjoying The Chase, didn’t quite understand my excitement, as I fumbled with the remote, pausing his enjoyment of the afore-mentioned tea-time quiz show.

The track was released on June 21st, so only 9 days ago. Not only was it available as a free MP3, it’s possible to actually purchase it on vinyl (at the time of typing). A very small number were produced. 100 in colured vinyl, 200 in black vinyl, and a few white label test pressings. Well, I had to go for the coloured vinyl. I only ordered it today, so obviously, it hasn’t turned up yet. Might be a couple of weeks. Might be sooner. No doubt I’ll update when I have the record in my grasp.

Should you wish to hear the full theme, or even chance your arm at getting a vinyl copy, you can click here. Now, to give my fingers a rest, as typing this all into my phone hasn’t been the most comfortable experience.

EXTENSION: The theme was also written and produced by John Collins, and released under his “Local Records” label, which explains how / why the master recording survives. And, of course, it’s also available on Spotify

I asked some of the questionson the Local Records website too, such as when it was recorded, why it wasn’t released until now, etc.

Eurosong Fever 2021!

Ahhh, it seems like an absolute age since I’ve done this, but in approxiamtely 20 minutes time, the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will be kicking off. It seems loike an age since the last one, and it is, because the “panny d” put paid to last years’ show.

This year, I’ve not watched any of the buildup, or the “qualifying rounds”, because really, if your song is bad enough to be knocked out of the qualifyers of Eurovision, your song must have a turd in a blender as your lead vocalist.

Anyhoooo, watch this space, as it’s the only “realtime” post I do of the year…. For the record, and because I believe this is the order they’all appear, here’s all the songs, and I’ll fill in my comments for each of them as I hear them!

Apparently, there’s a walk-on now (because everything has to have a walk on now), and they’re playing a remix of “Venus”. Ugh.

Elena Tsagrinou – El Diablo (Cyprus)

Huh. Well, this reminds me of something Lady Ga Ga would throw out. I have a feeling it’s not going to be the worst one I hear tonight. I actually quite like this one. I haven’t even had a drink yet.

Anxhela Peristeri Karma (Albania)

Onto song 2, and the first one in a language I don’t understand. Looks a little bit like Carol Vorderman (amusing! Graham Norton just mentioned that), but apparently has a decent set of pipes. the song isn’t really my cup of tea. Won’t be hunting this one down.

Eden Alene – Set Me Free (Israel)

Apparently she’s going to attempt the highest note ever performed at Eurovision. This should be fun.

Meh. Wasn’t that good.

Hooverphonic – The Wrong Place (Belgium)

I llke the band name, douze points. And the song isn’t bad either. I really like this one. Something about a Johnny Cash T-shirt. It did slip down the list as the night went on as the better songs came through.

Manizha – Russian Woman (Russia, unsurprisingly)

We’re about 30 seconds into this one, and I really, really dislike it. I’d definitely be skipping this if it came on Spotify. “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO BE”…. what, a quid for the parking meter?

Destiny – Je Me Casse (Malta)

Means “I’m Outta here”, apparently. this one’s pretty catchy, with those sax samples. It’ll probably do well.

The Black Mamba – Love Is On My Side (Portugal)

With a band name such as that, I expected a much more energetic peformance. This one’s just the usual forgettable rubbish. We have a winner.

Hurricane – Loco Loco (Serbia)

Another one that’s not in English, but… it’s got a decent tune, and dare I say it’s probably been my favourite so far? Been quite a lousy batch so far if I’m honest. Considering they’ve had two years to prepare, I expected more, even if they’re a new batch of songs entirely.

James Newman – Embers (United Kingdom)

Song nine. Song NEIN more like. Not a fan of this at all. Can’t see us getting much for this to be honest. Seems like it’s been going on for about 5 minutes. Pretty much just the same thing over and over again.

Stefania – Last Dance (Greece)

I’m looking at the list of how many acts there is to go… and then I realise I’m going to be missing BigCliveLive for this. Suddenly, this one picks up and it’s actually quite good. Interesting use of green screen effects. Think we have a new leader for my favourite.

Gjon’s Tears – Tout l’Univers (Switzerland)

It’s a no from me. Sounds a bit like Jimmy Somerville. Too slow. Tries the whole bombastic thing at the end for about 30 seconds, but it’s too late for all that now.

Daði og Gagnamagnið – 10 Years (Iceland)

I can imagine that the singer is going to break my encoding, and that name will proibably end up about 48 random characters. I haver no idea what those keyboard / guitar combos are, but I want one. Nice use of rhythm guitar. Another one I really like. Ohhh, those three keyboards join up and they forma circle. that was great.

Blas Cantó – Voy A Quedarme (Spain)

I’m all for gimmicks, and apparently, this is the biggest prop ever used in Eurovision. a 6 metre long moon. Song’s crap. Wanted him to stand under the moon, for it to snap, and a comedy “splat” sound. Didn’t happen.

Natalia Gordienko – SUGAR (Moldova)

NOPE. Not a fan of this one. Sounds like something that should have been left in the early 2000s.

Jendrik – I Don’t Feel Hate (Germany)

LOL. “This is marmite, if everyone hated mermite.” Surprisingly, I don’t hate this. I don’t have a clue what he’s blabbing on about, but to give it its due, it’s catchy.

Blind Channel – Dark Side (Finland)

I said to t’other Jamie over Facebook that he’d like this one…. “this is fantastc” was his reply, and I have to agree. It’s nice to have something different to what’s been so far. After a slow start, the songs are starting to pick up, and I haven’t even opened a beer yet.

VICTORIA – Growing Up Is Getting Old (Bulgaria)

Well, this is the most depressing song so far. Just a reminder that old age comes to us all, and one day we’ll get sick and die. Thanks for that.

The Roop – Discoteque (Lithuania)

Entirely forgettable. Yellow suits. No tune. Bloke looks a lit like him out of Human League. I could probably hear this 50 times in a row and not remember any of it. I’m not going to though. Hopefully, that’ll be the last time I hear that.

Go_A – Shum (Ukraine)

Folk tunes mixed with dance, apparently…. and unsurprisingly, I really like it. Can’t see it getting anywhere, but it’s right up my strasse.

Barbara Pravi – Voilà (France)

Apparently one of the favourites. Can’t see why. Possibly the most forgettable song of the lot so far. She’s probably a decent singer, but seeing as it’s in French, the should be singing about her bloody shopping list for all I know. Naaaaaaaaah.

Efendi – Mata Hari (Azerbaijan)

Nope, don’t think much of this one either.

TIX – Fallen Angel (Norway)

that one’s really good too. I got a bit distraced because I went o put the light on, but I’d probably say it’s on my top 3 so far? Think the staging could have been better though.

Jeangu Macrooy – Birth Of A New Age (The Netherlands)

Definitely not a fan of this one.

Måneskin – Zitti E Buoni (Italy)

ROTFL… “Maybe it’s grow on me, like mould on a bathroom ceiling”. Graham Norton’s comments crack me up. It’s supposed to be heavy metal. The only thing heavy is my head, as I try to think something decent about this. It’s certainly not “heavy metal”. I was looking forward to this one, and now I’m just disappointed.

Tusse – Voices (Sweden)

I usually like Sweden’s songs, they always come out with some classics. This one’s…. not really one of them. Pretty forgettable. Not the worst I’ve heard tonight. Ah, key change. Now THAT’S Eurovision.

Senhit – Adrenalina (San Marino)

And so, this is the final one. Not a bad batch of entries if I’m honest. Flow-Rider doesn’t improve this one in the least.

And that’s your lot. Wasn’t that fun? Now it’s the tedium of an hour-long half-time show while the votes are counted. Not calling, and I’m not installing an app to vote. so I guess I’ll just have to put up with it. Think I’ll open those beers now. I’ve also fixed the “bold” HTML tag.

Well, wasn’t that fun? Glad to see we did well as usual. And that concludes your Eurovision coverage for another year.

RIP Nick Kamen

Well, it’s not been a good few weeks for losing musical acts who I actually like… We lost Jim Steinman a few weeks ago, and I found out today that we’ve also lost Nick Kamen, who wrote and performed one of my favourite songs “I Promised Myself”.. I first picked up the record when I was in Garmany back in 2007, and I had this to say at the time…

“Another stall sold 7” singles, by far my audio format favourite. I picked “I promised Myself” by Nick Kamen – a song which I’d heard originally in the Hartlepool shopping centre, at about 8AM in the morning before the shops even opened. But that’s a story for another day. I also bought two others which aren’t really worth mentioning, as they were simply ro replace scratched copies of records I already had.”

It just occurred to me that I never told the story of how I heard this song. Right, so I’m going on memories that are *at least* 15 years old, but I remember the main gist of it. As you know, if you’ve followed this blog for over 9 years (well done if you have), that I used to work nights, 3 days on, 3 days off. At rhe end of the 3 days on, it was not unusual for me to have a couple of pints with my fellow work colleagues, and seeing as the local Wetherspoons (which is no longer owned by them), didn’t open at 9, I’d have 45 minutes or so to kill. the shopping centre was next to the afore-mentioned establishment, so this would often see me walk around aimlessly, especially as none of the shops would be open.

One thing that was noticeable, is that the tannoy system was actually audible. It plays the entire time that the shopping centre is open, but it’s normally barely audible by the sound of screaming children, dismayed parents, and all of the other sounds that a shopping centre in a deprived area of the North-East would emit.

Thankfully, as mentioned, it was audible, and I heard this particular song. I’d not heard it before, and insteantly fell in love with it. This was long before the days of Shazam, or even Android (I was probably rocking the world with a (a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Ericsson_K800i”>K800i back then), but I somehow got enough lyrics for me to google it, and find out the artist.

And… ero, that’s pretty much it. As mentioned, I tracked down the single in Berlin. At some point, I picked up the album on CD, and on 20th February 2016, I picked up the 12″ version. It still amazes me that this song wasn’t a bigger hit than it was, at least here anyway, reaching a measly #50.

In other news, it’s now under a week until I get my second COVID jab. Hopefully things will return to some type of normality, and I can start typing about the crap I’ve found in charity shops again. I bet you all can’t wait for that!