Sunday, 19 February 2012

14 Steps

On Friday 17th February Gaz and me did something we haven’t done for a good few years, we took a train to London and went record shopping. Back when we were at school we’d get the train into Southampton city centre on a Saturday and do a round of the then great record shops. Later when we had a bit more money we’d often take a train to London and treat ourselves to a record shopping spree.
It’s something we haven’t done for so long, mainly because we now live a couple of hundred miles apart, we have busy lives and money is tight, as it is for everyone these days. But Gaz was back down south for a few days and I had a day off work, so it seemed as good a time as any to treat ourselves.
On the train ride up to London we decided that our first stop would be Rough Trade East. I had been there once before but Gaz hadn’t, so it seemed a good place to start. The tube ride there wasn’t as straight forward as it should have been, but after a brief detour we made it to Liverpool Street and took the short walk to Brick Lane. It’s fair to say Gaz was impressed with the size of it and I was happy that I wouldn’t feel rushed or pushed for time like I did on my last visit. Whilst there my friend Tom Ellis walked over and it was good to have a chat with him, and being the good sort he is he pointed out the TV Casualty 7”, so I grabbed that, as well as a Hagar The Womb 12”. I wanted the Lowest Form 7” too, but it was a little expensive, so I reluctantly put that back. Gaz got himself a couple of LPs and debated over a Black Flag double album.
                                                                     (Gaz takes in the awesomeness of Rough Trade East)

After paying up and saying goodbye to Tom we headed off. On the way back to the station we debated getting some chips, but settled for a cup of tea instead. While relaxing with our tea we decided that seeing as we’d visited their East shop we’d take a tube right across London to see if Sean Forbes was at Rough Trade West. Sean wasn’t behind the counter when we got there, but after looking through the racks he came out and we had a good chat with him. I also picked up one of the Messthetics CD compilations. I’m not sure if Gaz got anything there or not. 
On one of our previous trips to Rough Trade West, many years ago, Sean had mentioned that his new piss-take Oi band had sent a demo to Helen Of Oi Records, and they were interested in releasing an LP. This time he told us that Hard Skin were about to go and record a new album.

I took Gaz to a vegetarian food place that I remembered Si had enjoyed when we were there with Paint It Black a couple of summers ago; Gaz was also impressed. While he ate we debated if we should go to Camden or Soho for our next fix of record shopping. Soho won, so it was back on a tube. After emerging from Oxford Circus station we dodged out of the Oxford Street crowds and made our was to Soho via the back streets.
We reached Sister Ray Records and first looked for the Black Flag album that Gaz had now decided he did want after all. We didn’t find that, but I did find an LP of Adam & The Ants demos recorded in 1978 (which made me very excited), the 25th Anniversary release of The Damned’s “New Rose” 7” and a copy of Maximum Rock n Roll. I had to put back a live Ants LP (also from 1978) and CDs by Killing Joke and Psychedelic Furs; but Gaz did buy me The Damned’s Stiff SIngles CD Box-set, calling it my birthday present (even though my birthday is a month away). He also got an LP of Dead Kennedys demos.
Just up the road form Sister Ray we found a second hand shop where I got a Ripcord LP I didn’t have.
We were done then, and time was getting on, so we decided to head back to the station; we never did make it to Camden, but we did find a couple of second hand shops that Gaz just happen to remember were just off Oxford Street, even though it must have been over 20 years since we’d last been in them.
With just enough time to grab a cup of tea we got our train and had an uncomfortably packed ride home.

It was fun to go record shopping like that again as we hardly ever get to do stuff like that together any more. Gaz is lucky in that he has several decent record shops in Norwich;, but Southampton has either HMV or the Oxfam Record shop and that’s it, its a sad state of affairs.
The next night we went to see The Dauntless Elite in town and I bought the Underparts 7”,  the new Attack! Vipers! LP and the new Dauntless Elite album, none of which I’ve had a chance to give a proper listen to yet, but I will do very soon and put reviews up on our the SD website.
Dauntless Elite were great live too; it’s been a few years since I’ve seen them play and they were just as good as I remembered.
As well as all that I bought a Treblinka LP off Ralf in Brighton, another record I haven’t had a good listen to yet, and was sent the wonderful Take Warning 7”. Take Warning are French and play a rough and ready Pegboy style of punk that really hit the spot (see review on our website).
I think it’s fair to say it’s been a good few days for new music, and apart from a couple of exceptions, it’s all been vinyl. I do love my vinyl, but I wish I could afford a better quality record player and amp. When I was about 14 or 15 I bough some second hand stereo equipment, it was really good stuff and lasted me years. I think I’m going to need to hunt some stuff down, although how I'm going to pay for it is a question I don’t have a good answer for yet.