Thu. May 23rd, 2024

I had the day off so I made a small day of it shopping in one of my favourite nearby places, which is a town called Croydon. What’s so good about Croydon? I hear you ask. Well, it has a good book shop, a newsagents, a Cash Converters, a t-shirt and figurine store (they stock Ghiblis – I got a Cat-Bus soft toy there), several good op shops, some leafy parks and sports ovals and a bunch of coffee shops. Oh, and there’s one of my libraries. In a sign of the times, it used to have a record store and an indie cinema. That record store was legendary in my mind. I bought my first records there – Band On the Run and We Sold Our Souls For Rock N Roll (guess the artists!). And I saw more films in that cinema than I’ve seen in any other cinema in my entire life. It was my local. Both the record store and the cinema closed down just last year. Sigh. That’s the other thing about Croydon for me: it’s full of memories.

They were reduced from $199

So, first I checked out the Cash Converters, but saw nothing of interest, apart from a Cardcaptor Sakura anime film, which sort of tempted me, but not enough. The store is long past its prime, where back in the day it had amazing items, like a complete set of Bubblegum Crisis figurines and a stack of classic anime dvds and old comic books. I so wanted those figurines, but they were too expensive. At the newsagents I got a magazine called Ultimate Scifi Retro Collection. It’s by SFX. When I picked it up and turned to a random page, I saw my favourite author, Ursula Le Guin, staring back at me. It was a page of notable scifi authors and books. Unbelievably, it also featured The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius graphic novel by Moebius, an obscure touchstone artifact from my misspent youth reading Heavy Metal magazine. I had to buy that mag. I looked it over while having delicious coffee and cake at a nearby cafe. I then bought a book, Japanese For Busy People, in an op shop. This was a significant purchase, as it seems to suggest I will definitely go back to Japan in the future (with hopefully a better command of the language). In another op shop I bought a hardback copy of Lady of the Trillium, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I have the first in the series, Black Trillium, also in hardback. That one was written by Bradley, Julian May and Andre Norton, a gaggle of witchy scifi writers. Then I picked up a Doris Day dvd collection that features all three of the films she made with Rock Hudson. I love Doris, and I especially love that second film, Lover Come Back. Also grabbed Curtis Mayfield In Concert on dvd. Can’t wait to see that one. Poor Curtis, he became paralyzed when part of a lighting rig fell on him during a gig in 1990. But what a voice. It was a fun day out.

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When I got home I listened to and digitized those singles I bought at the Box Hill Record Fair. It was a pretty mixed bag. The best were the Mi Sex singles and the Redhouse single, I Like Dancing. All in good condition and I’d forgotten how catchy the latter was. I looked them up in my Australian Encyclopedia of Rock by Noel McGrath and discovered the song came out in 1976. I’m still not sure if they’re the band I saw at the local roller rink. It might have been MEO245. Though my mate Rui cites seeing Redhouse at our high school back then, so they were around. The Little Feat single was probably the worst. The A-side actually has Linda Ronstadt singing a live version of All That You Dream. Wtf? The B-side has a badly edited live version of Feats Don’t Fail Me Now. What a waste! The Flower Pot Men single, Let’s Go To San Francisco, was in shocking condition, what I call a Rice Bubbles record – lots of snap, crackle and pop. Not a bad Beach Boys pastiche though. Songwriter John Carter went on to produce another Beach Boys-flavoured number in Beach Baby by First Class. The Flower Pot Men touring band briefly had Jon Lord of Deep Purple in it, and it’s suggested this song was the one lampooned in This Is Spinal Tap, whose first fictional hit is Listen to the Flower People.

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