Monday, July 14, 2008

Further, Week-old Holiday Ramblings 2


Another lazy day. (I could get used to this.) About the most energetic thing I did today was visit to the only charity shop I have ever encountered that opens on a Sunday. Bliss! LPs! Boxes and boxes of LPs - all 10p each! I was very restrained; I only bought a dozen - which (dammit!) I will have to wait till I get back home to listen to. The anticipation is not exactly killing me but it is very enjoyable.

While I was riffling through the boxes I had one of those wonderful 'OMG! I hope the LP in this sleeve is the LP that should be in the sleeve....!" moments followed immediately by a "...and I hope it's at least halfway playable...!" moment. I love moments like that. It makes up for wading through all the boxes which contain nothing but the collected albums of Jim Reeves, Peters and Lee, and copies of Pickwick Records Presents Highlights from The Best Loved Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas. I hate boxes like those. They're so dull, a real slog to wade through. It's hard work getting excited over a Geoff Love Orchestra Plays Great Movie Themes LP* which, quite often, is the most interesting thing you'll find in them.

It's worth it though for the OMG! moments. Sometimes you find interesting looking LPs only to suffer the instant disappointment of finding the sleeve is either empty - Fuck! - or contains a completely different record - doublefuck! (you then have to go back through the whole box trying to find the cover for THAT record - in the always vain hope that the two have been swapped), or the correct record is there, but looks like it has been used to test Black and Decker power tools on. Oh, Triplefuck with spinkles! - this last one is the worst because at least with the other two there is a vague chance that someone, somewhere is enjoying the sounds of Elvis' greatest hits played on the Gamalan, or 'The Trorchy Male Voice Choir sings The Bee Gees', or whatever - but with the record that has been reduced to an unplayable circular mat of scratch, no one is ever going to listen to that particular disc ever again. And this stuff needs listening to; it's part of our heritage! (admittedly a particularly painful and never fashionable part) but it needs to be nurtured, reevaluated and preserved. Why? For the same reason that we should maintain biodiversity. We don't know what undiscovered usefulnesses there are out there in the Rain Forests, who knows what future generations will consider musical masterpieces? I mean Vivaldi wasn't played for several centuries, dismissed as he was by received wisdom as being a near worthless second-rater. Received wisdom was wrong about him, it may (possibly) be wrong about The Barron Knights, James Last, or Daniel O'Donnell. Who knows?

Today's strike of discarded vinyl wasn't exactly a Klondike of future Vivaldis but was a good seam. I'll not bore you with all my purchases but they did include: an album of Miklos Roska conducting some of his movie themes. Roska was a movie music genius responsible for scoring all sorts of great movies but I mainly bought it because the first track on the album is called:
'The Love Theme From Sodom and Gomorrah'
I remember seeing Sodom and Gomorrah once. It was one of those sword and sandal Biblical epics that used to crop up on Sunday afternoons on BBC2 when Wimbledon or the cricket got rained off. I remember nothing about it at all apart from one gloriously wonderful, all time brilliant, Hall of Fame, bad movie moment. As I recall it, our hero type (possibly a young John Derrick) is leading his bunch of Gomorrahn** foot soldiers on a daring raid behind enemy lines. At one point he turns and cautions them to extra vigilance with the immortal line:
"Be careful - and watch out for Sodomite patrols."
So, there I was, working my way through a far more interesting than usual pile of dreck, selecting and making a neat pile of all the early Herb Alperts and late 60s Spanish pop music LPs when I had my moment of riffling joy. I held in my hand a battered sleeve emblazoned with the words: 'Toddlers Au Go-Go, Nursery Rhymes Played with the Teen Rhythms of Today'. Paydirt! Could this be it? - Genuine shit? ***

For a moment I was Schliemann at Troy, I was Cortez gazing at the Pacific, I was Madame Curie holding the first vial of Radium. I slid the disc out from the sleeve - it looked playable! - no great cracks or scratc\hes. The label? Did it? - it did! - it matched the sleeve! I breathed again. I had done it! I had discovered a brand new isotope of crap!

And it's a whole week till I can play it and find out what I have got.

And Merriol wants the car decontaminated when we get back.

* Especially when you already own a copy.
** Can this possibly be right?
*** The bizarre 'Au' in the title was enough for me.

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