Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Have you ever thought that buying cd’s is a lot like cheating on your partner? I have. Consider this: every now and again I get this uncontrollable urge to leave the warmth and security of my familiar and extensive collection of cd’s, my cherished Kinks albums, my beloved Stereolab, REM and Emmylou Harris albums, and troll the shopping malls and specialist music stores for something new, something different. Essentially I’m being unfaithful to my ‘family’ and trading up to something sportier. There’s no reason why I should do this really. I mean, how many more albums do I need to feel satisfied, to be sated? Why can’t I just appreciate the brilliance that is Kate Bush’s Hounds Of Love album, why can’t I simply remain loyal to the perfection that is Dusty Springfield’s Dusty In Memphis album, why can’t I learn to be eternally happy basking in the warm glow that is Spirit Caravan’s The Last Embrace? How many times have these albums, and others, wrapped me in their loving arms, nurturing me and keeping me safe and sane? Why am I such a sleazebag? Is it just that I’ve become perverted by the consumer society? Still, I find I can’t help myself.

Just the other day I was out on the prowl for some strays in one of my favourite record stores. It was a second-hand store, so the merchandise was used, cheap, someone’s soiled cast-offs, but I didn’t care. To me it was all new talent. I walked slowly down the cd aisle, titles luring me from every shelf. Scoping out the C section I discovered Captain Beefheart’s Bluejeans and Moonbeams. Fans and critics have maligned the album for years, saying it was pedestrian, unimaginative and (heinous crime) commercial even. They sneered at the Captain’s new Magic Band, re-dubbing them the Tragic Band. Did I care? Not a whit. I was in my ‘I’ll buy any old shit by the Captain that I don’t have’ phase, so I grabbed it (and later on, playing it, loved it!). A young Red Sun Band album gave me the eye, so I picked it up. I knew their song Heartbreaker from the clip that was shown on Rage. Fantastic song, cool indie sound: “You’re a heartbreaker, heartbreaker, it’s true…” I figured there must me more good stuff where that came from, so I had to have it. A Carter Family compilation tempted me with its maturity and experience. I looked at it and realised I already had some of the songs in my collection, but not all of them – not by a long shot. I snapped it up. Then, in the record section, I found a German import of a Moody Blues double album called The Dream going for just seven bucks. I’d been wanting some early, pre-Nights In White Satin era Moodies for a while. That’s right, you know I had to possess it.

While I’m on the topic, I still love old records. I especially enjoy finding them in op shops: neglected, unloved, dirty orphans that I can take home either as a bit of rough or clean up good as new with a bit of digitising in the computer. I’ve been doing that a lot with Shirley Bassey albums lately. Honestly, I can’t help it, she’s everywhere in op shop record bins; her lovely face on those beautiful old sixties covers pleading with me to ‘love me, love me’. I take out the crackles and the surface noise, and a reinvigorated Shirley’s ready to give this Big Spender another tumble or two. Me and Shirley, it’s definitely a love affair.

Meanwhile, back in the second-hand store, I spied a ‘special tour edition’ of Teenage Fanclub’s Grand Prix. I already had the album (love the Fannies!), just not this extended version. Should I get it, can I justify it, do I really need those extra b-sides, and how’s the one at home gonna take the news that it’s been superseded? Maybe I could palm the old one off on a friend? I decided no, I didn’t want this tarted up floozy. The original has kept me satisfied for a lot of years and will no doubt continue to do so.

But it was only a short-lived moral victory. I clamped eyes on a 5.1 surround mix dvd audio with extra remastered cd (with extra tracks) of Talking Heads’ Fear Of Music. Wow! And only eighteen bucks! I positively salivated. I could easily justify replacing my old lp copy, that I bought many years ago in a market, with this pristine piece of plastic. This beauty didn’t come along very often and it’d sound great on my super audio player/surround sound amp combo. And I recalled I’d given that old copy a play not that long ago. Enjoyed it, in fact. It was a great album, especially Cities, and the sublime Heaven. Then something occurred to me, and I laughed. Maybe this was that album’s way of saying, “I don’t wanna be neglected like the others. Play me.” Hell, this wasn’t some tarted up floozy, it was the full botox injection, face lift and boob job combination, and it was getting me hard! Sometimes they find ways of keeping you interested.

Okay, that’s it, I think I’ve flogged this metaphor long enough. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some affairs to sort out. Emmylou just caught me cheating on her with Amy Winehouse, and she’s not talking to me…

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