Wednesday, 1 July 2015

George Osborne's 7"

Words written c31000
Stories completed 2
Rejections 59
Acceptances 1

I am more often than not living my life six weeks or so in the past.

I’ve been watching David Lynch’s Lost Highway in occasional chunks (which really doesn’t lose any narrative sense), recorded off SyFy about six weeks ago, whilst – not simultaneously, I hasten to add - taking in a six-week old sermon from the Church of Wittertainment.  In that sermon Dr Kermode mentioned that Lost Highway garnered its best reviews when French critics were shown the reels in the wrong order.  Serendipity, huh?

What he failed to mention, however, was the similarity between Balthazar Getty and a young George Osborne.

Meanwhile, in a similarly aged copy of the Week, which I was reading in the bath, I noticed that a collection of every UK hit single ever, ever was going under the hammer (metaphorically); 27,000 7” singles were estimated at just £7,000 (they ended up going for a lot more).

During my youth I amassed a weighty collection of vinyl, often bought on the mere recommendation of Melody Maker, or even just on the strength of the name (little did I expect Daisy Hill Puppy Farm to turn out to be Icelandic proto-metal).  Most of it disappeared on eBay over the years for a lot more per disc than was being quoted. 

The reason is obvious, of course: what I sold was the willfully obscure, as opposed to the widely available, and a proportion had become very collectable.  (Unlike top 40 singles, which tended to leave buyers with a morning-after did-I-really-do-that feeling.)  For every Sidi Bou Said there was an early PJ Harvey; for every Faith Over Reason a Rough Trade Singles Club Catatonia.

But could you do that today?  Digital appears to have sucked the joy out of leafing through racks of records, considering the cover, the information, the label.  Not hearing it until it’s bought, paid for, and taken home in a plastic bag swinging from your hand.

Now we have the convenience of hearing it before buying – try explaining that that should be the end of the process.  Where’s the anticipation, the thrill of the hunt?  The sense of buying a gem, which can only come with the experience of buying more often than not, well, Daisy Hill Puppy Farm?

And, in what sense, can you buy a rare gem when it’s just ones and zeros, replicable an infinite number of times over?  I had vinyl that only a handful of others had, and unavailable to anyone running after the bandwagon.  Nowadays your download will be same as mine, even if I downloaded it after being one of three blokes seeing them in a pub, whereas you heard them on national radio.

Jimmy Voldemort (his name must not be uttered!) presciently said that Top of The Pops would last as long as people bought records, and he was right, although I suspect he meant ‘forever’ when he said it.

No more porky prime cuts in the run-off groove.  The youth of today just won’t understand those words…

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