An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Wednesday 13 September 2017

A very healthy market

Nope...I'm still here

2016-2017 was a bad year for my collecting. Other more important things came up which left me a bit strapped for cash. But over the last few months things have picked up a little, if slowly.

The world is constantly changing. In the last couple of years the sales of new vinyl has gone up and up, but still small numbers next to downloads. People who threw away their turntables a decade ago and sent all their records to charity shops are buying decks again and revisiting their youth. Vinyl is on sale again in the local supermarket. The worth of those first pressings even from huge artists like Sex Pistols, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd have gone through the ceiling and endless people think it's time to empty the loft expecting to have a treasure trove in the warped and dank boxes of vinyl they haven't looked at for 30 years.

At times I wonder if the 2nd hand vinyl bubble is at it's greatest extent and I ponder sometimes if it's worth cashing in before the big burst happens. How would I feel when vinyl really does become junk nobody wants it and my collection becomes worth less than the value of its plastic and paper recycling? How much of a gimp would I feel knowing its current value now just to see it become a sad old man's worthless obsession (I'm part way there already some would say).

But it is just a ponder occasionally, I would feel a cheat not to have taken up this challenge and at least follow it through to the 2030 4AD anniversary. Besides which, as time passes, the reason behind this quest becomes more and more relevant. While some first decade 4AD acts still manage a small recognition in some alternative circles, there is a range of 4AD acts that are not so well known that could easily be forgotten. Imagine missing out on The Past Seven Days song Raindance, one of the best 4AD songs ever recorded in my opinion.

So I must keep on with my mission.

Now, I know I have promised before that I will get back into writing this blog, then gone on to fail miserably and left an age until writing again, but I will try harder, honest. It is difficult to keep writing, especially when little is happening. I'm very aware of just listing what I have recently picked up and going over very similar ground, one entry after another. It would be good to hear some suggestions of what you think might be interesting to read about on this blog. I did have an idea of showing off some of my proudest collection pieces so far.....maybe I will have a go at that.

As a side note, Discogs, the online music collectors database and a useful way of keeping track of your collection, set up another database called Filmogs, which does a similar thing but for video, DVD, Blu-rays etc. Well, the same folk have just started another interesting database called Posterogs. It's very much in its infancy, but allows users to submit poster infomation into the database and track collections and wants. This is a really useful missing piece of my collecting need, as 4AD did many posters and the artwork is as an important part of the 4AD story. So I'm going to have to go through my posters and start to get them loaded up to the database (once I can sort out the picture orientation problem I seem to be having with the site). This is exciting for me as I can keep track of what I have (I have too many already to have them all framed around the house) and as others put on their collection, see what is out there and try and buy them.

So once again, sorry for such a long delay in posting. Honestly I will do better! Send me some suggestions

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Where have I been? What time do you call this?

How long has it been??

What can I say? It's been a topsy turvy set of months. I've been trying to tighten the purse strings for a while and then the smack in the face I really didn't want was the collective genius known as Brexit.

It seems to be a hippy dream ideal to want to live in a world where borders, race, sexuality and gender need have no real profile and are irrelevant, but that seems a dream moving further from reality. In a short period where David Bowie has left us and the world seems to have hardly noticed the legacy that just one man left behind, the country I live in seems to becoming more and more intolerant and regressive as time passes.

Why is this relevant I hear you say? Because the vote by the British public whether to leave the European union has its many sides to argue, but out of it has come an intensity of bigotry and a licence for intolerance. For those that may not know what has happened in this country, the place where I dropped from my mother and therefore am expected to have allegiance in gratitude, every person eligable to vote was asked to decide whether to leave the European Union. While I have my own opinions on the matter, the biggest argument to come out of the debate to leave was to stop the "legions" of foreigners "taking over our beloved country". This seemed to give voice to an otherwise quietly shamed population of ageing racists that revelled in the opportunity to be brash about their colonial attitudes.

But I digress, the outcome of this shameful set of proceedings was the majority vote going to the campaign to leave the European Union. Out of this moment of genius, the British pound slumped making the vast majority of what I needed to collect, stupidly expensive. Just Great! So apart from racism becoming a little more of an acceptable attitude and, of course, the rest of the baggage that goes along with those bigoted opinions, prices in the rest of the world have shot up, including postage rates.

There have been some interesting developments that have not gone by unnoticed in my slow period though. There have been some interesting statements that some of the earlier 4AD releases came in glossy covers and the later ones had a more matt finish. This has only been on a couple of UK releases, but I can't verify at the moment if there is any truth in it, but I am on the case. There was also a release, again from the UK, that came with both the negative and positive female wrestlers photos on the centre label. Again, I have to get this verified myself before I can give any definitive answer as to whether it's true, but I will update my findings here.

Another interesting development over the past year has been the number of music collection exhibitions taking place. These have ranged from photographic collections and memorabilia to actual record collections. These have been rare and scattered over Europe, but an interesting development none the less. I find this interesting because it is what I am aiming to do with my collection in 2030, on 4AD's 50th anniversary. I still have no idea where, or if anyone in the world will be remotely interested in it, but I'll worry about that nearer the time.

I was also fortunate enough to see Sex Gang Children recently as well. As with the Peter Murphy tour done recently, there is a new trend for older bands to play either an old album or do a tour playing the songs from an earlier period. The Peter Murphy gig was mindblowing, playing just the old bauhaus songs. All the songs had so much energy and were so fresh and new, 35 years on. Sex Gang Children did a similar thing, playing songs from the Song and Legend era. The music was just so refreshing and unique and full of ghusto. I was fortunate enough to meet Andi Sex Gang after the show and I just had to tell him how privileged I felt to be able to see himself and Peter Murphy play such material having been too young (just) to miss it the first time around. As I said to Andi Sex Gang, I find it so strange that with the acceptance of all types of music nowadays without the extreme elitist tribalism that always used to be so prelevant that, of all the music styles being performed by the younger bands, hardly anyone picks up and experiments with these styles of music. There is simply nothing like early Bauhaus and Sex Gang Children around anymore, which is such a crying shame.

I also have the knack of coming across the most amazing finds when I'm strapped for cash. It's been a tight year financially and the collection has had to take a back seat. It's always under these circumstances when one of the Lonely As An Eysore boxes comes up for sale. Predictably one has. This is arguably THE 4AD collection piece, a beautiful wooden box, limited to 100 copies, of which only 30 ever went on general sale to the public. It exchanges hands for around £1300 on a few occasions and rarely comes up for sale. Needless to say, once again it's outside my grasp, darn it!!

Finally, in keeping with the spirit of this blog entry and as an "up-yours" to the growing intolerance I seem to be noticing of late, I wish to inform my wonderful readers of the latest book by the author of "Facing the other way the story of 4ad" Martin Aston. He has a new book that came out on October 13th called "BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS OF HEARTACHE: HOW MUSIC CAME OUT" and described as "a comprehensive history – spanning a hundred years, starting in 1920s Harlem – of the queer pioneers of Popular Music with over 90 new interviews."

Hopefully I won't stay away so long next time