Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I don't get to hang with my wife w/out the kids very often, so yesterday we got in the car and went on a charity-shop crawl. Spent the morning sifting thru bins of manky vinyl and pinmould-speckled books. I love the alure of The Trawl, the The Sift, the combing thru shit in search of pearls: sometimes, a weird sort of pattern-recognition comes into play; for example, you find yrself noticing 'trends' in the Discardia - you may spot over a period of weeks / months, in different locations in different towns, that certain albums or artists suddenly become more noticable or prevalent in thrift-store / junk-shop bins, as if they've suddenly found some new, inverted form of fashionability. Last year, late-era Culture Club / Boy George solo records seemed to be everywhere; every box of Des O'Connor / Max Bygraves discards contained at least one. Some artists - like Paul Young, Terence Trent D'Arby and Five Star - seem to never go out of Unfashion.

Yesterday, I spotted a run on Phil Collins duet records - twelves, mostly - not his solo reccids, but the ones with Philip Bailey and Marilyn Martin. Phil Collins duets - not just one, but sometimes two or three seperate singles - sitting there in about 7 out of the 10 shops visited. Statistically, that seems curiously high. It's weird; it seems like Phil's Unfame is still in a tentative, almost fragile quantum state, as if the Discardia Market is still only prepared to tolerate his Philness in a diluted / attentuated state, ie as part of a duo. (Remember: everything is inverted / upside-down / backwards in the World of UnPopularity). I'm going to put on my big scary papier-mache Pundit Head and predict a major run on Phil Collins' solo-solo records in the bins early next year - twelve inches of every shade, followed in the summer by a plethora of vinyl LPs.

You might want to get in early here and start stockpilin', Unhipsters! Amaze yr friends: they'll be going "Wow, man, how did you know Phil Collins was gonna be so small...?"

I picked up Brand-X's "Masques" last year; it's okay, but not one of their best.

But you can see where this is going, though, can't you? "Masques" was the first Brand-X LP to not feature Collins on drums...but now, the Unhipster Market is peaking on his solo-duet material, so it's pretty clear to me that we can use raaaandom-sampling of charity-shop bins to extrapolate outwards and predict Reverse Untrends.

Steve Miller's "Fly Like An Eagle" LP has started appearing across multiple charity-shop geographies and demographics. Just though I'd throw that curve-ball at you.

My wife and I also found an Everything Shop. It was awesome - trick-mirror perspectives and everything. It went on...Forever: self-extrapolating, telescoping out into an impossible Tardis-like depth. A sort of Anti-Wilkinsons.

I left my phone in the car otherwise I'd've taken a picture. A million pictures of its Inescapable Actual Vs Apparent Size Ratio. Actually, Everything Shops are sooooo big that light cannot escape from them - nor customers - so the pictures wouldn't've come out anyway. I have only my memories now and they are already starting to fade.

I love Everything Shops - proper ones, mind you; not these shitty little regional chains - they have to be righteously narrow, so deep and looooong that the rear of the shop is lost in shadow or the mists of Time. I know where most of the good local Everything Shops are - or thought I did - but we kinda stumbled on this one and didn't want to leave.

Actually, we couldn't leave.

Then I remembered that I had a (very) short heartbreaking-yet-satirical story on the go that's about the malignant-inverse of an Everything Shop - an impossibly-huge macrocapitalist factory-as-retail-outlet that becomes its own brutal nation-state - and I had a sudden, inexplicable desire to finish the piece.

Maybe it was the coffee.

Instead, I have started work on a new Amerigo Verde story - since the old one was starting to look a little lonely and I had a growing desire to write some Science Fantasy again.

This one's about lost hope, Gnosticism, Baroque Fractals and the most appalling siege of a city imaginable.


At 9:57 pm, Blogger Pete Um said...

I was going to do a thing once where I bought every copy of No Parlez by Paul Young I ever found in a charity shop, just to see where the experiment would lead I guess. Would it's ubiquity eventually be even mildly compromised, on a local scale? Could I possibly grist the hydra-headed fucker into something more than worthless? To be honest I think my pathological loser/hoarder self just wanted to see all those copies. And where was my hat in 1983? Boarding school man, puberty... it all makes sense now...

At 10:46 pm, Blogger I am not Kek-w said...

"I was going to do a thing once where I bought every copy of No Parlez by Paul Young I ever found in a charity shop"

- Y'know, that really is crying out to be some sort of installation / art-project ? It would be cool to see a multiplicity of No Parlez's in one place at once, maybe with each one labelled with time and place and price of purchase. It could be called "No Parlez"...

At 7:45 am, Blogger ekolad said...

Bristol already ahead of the curve - phil collins solo albums EVERYWHERE right now.

Not so many No Parlez's these days, but the great shirley bassey discardia project seems to show no signs of abating..:¬/

At 8:53 am, Blogger I am not Kek-w said...

Strangely unsurprised by the plethora of Collins LPs in Brzzle, Nick...after all, haven't Dazed & Confused, the Blackdown blog and every internet pundit I can think of being saying for years that "Bristol is the Second City of Phil Collins"? LOL

Poor aul' Bassey! Abandoned even by her trad. gay following: she is, indeed, an Unfame Superstar. The unbrightest star in the firmament!

At 9:43 am, Blogger Pete Um said...

In fact, I think I started writing something once about Unrare records or something, trying to compile a top 20 of records you were most likely to find in a chazzer. Collins canon of course, Alf by Alison Moyet, a Johnny Mathis. These are the records you know by their top edge.

At 11:54 am, Blogger I am not Kek-w said...

"These are the records you know by their top edge." - yeah, that's spot on, pete; if you do a certain degree of charity-shop browsing then you start recognising certain colours or shapes at the top of certain LPs or labels (or their spines), almost on a subliminal level - that red on "No Parlez" is a prime example; oh, how I *know* that red....

"Unrare" - LOL

At 10:23 pm, Blogger SIMON REYNOLDS said...

unfame, unfashion, unrare -- love it!

that said

At 1:13 am, Blogger I am not Kek-w said...

Hahaha! Just bought a 2nd-hand Alan Parsons' LP last week...something weirdly circular and karmic about that.


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