Sunday, April 21, 2013

Record Store Day 2013 and why Monorail records in Glasgow continues tobe brilliant

So yesterday was Record Store Day 2013 and I made my yearly early morning pilgrimage to Monorail records to buy some exclusive vinyl. An important thing to note is that this is not the only day during the year that I visit Monorail, it is just the only day when I get up at 7am and get a taxi there as quickly as possible. Usually I just stroll in, in a relaxed fashion some time after midday.

I got there at about 7:45 and by then the queue was already about 60 strong. I had my iPod so I was fairly self-contained in the queue listening to some Mars Volta as well as ....and you will know us by the Trail of Dead. I had been at a work night out on Friday but I'd restricted myself to one pint and an early departure in readiness for the start of Record Store Day.

The doors opened at 9 and by 10 I made it to the front of the queue. I was able to get most of the stuff I was after but sadly the Velvet Underground LP was sold out. Fortuitously a large number of Velvet Underground LPs are now available on eBay at only moderately inflated prices suggesting that many of the true fans at the front of queues world wide had already listened to the vinyl and decided that it was so brilliant that they had to share it as soon as possible with other fans less able to face an early morning start. Obviously eBay is the easiest way to democratise music in this way.

Anyway, I did manage to pick up the beautiful double 7" reissue of the first Husker Du single Amusement. I had been thinking about this record for some time and it has met my expectations. I also bought the Mogwai & Aidan Moffat split single and the Aidan Moffat/Twilight Sad singles. Possibly a more interesting spur of the moment buy was the Damon and Naomi demo album which is amazingly packaged in a vandalised reproduction of an old Sonny and Cher LP. It truly is a thing of beauty. I picked up the Primal Scream City Slang 12" partly because of my teenage love of the Scream and partly cos the drummer from the Stooges plays on it and partly cos it's a great song.

Finally I bought the new Flaming Lips LP package. It wasn't an exclusive release but it is very nice indeed.

I haven't mentioned my other good buy, a DVD of the film Last Shop Standing which charts the rise and fall and possible re-emergence of independent record stores. It features an all too brief appearance by Monorail and Dep and it is an interesting cultural document. I have spent a lot of time and money in record stores over the past 25 years and I will continue to do so, at least in places like Monorail.

I do enjoy Record Store Day but I find the instant eBay secondary market thing to be frustrating although some of my friends in bands find it even more frustrating. At the end of the day at least the small independent shops have hopefully had a worthwhile infusion of cash that will keep the wolf from the door for another year and hopefully the Internet scampers will be forced to reduce their profit margins. Independent record shops may be our only record shops in a few years time and hopefully they will continue to thrive for years to come.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Digital comics

I never thought that I would enjoy reading digital comics but I do. The app on the iPad makes the experience very enjoyable and convenient. I now feel like I have a portable comic book collection. I love the aesthetic quality of books and old comics but they are not very portable. Now I can read a whole run of a comic book with ease.

I do grudge paying for a PDF file but marvel comics have very generously taken to supplying a digital download code with their best selling titles (but not with second stringers like Young Avengers sadly). I have to say that this is a nice touch from marvel.

I might even consider paying for digital comics if a title is hard to find in the shops. eBay prices are crazy for some newer titles.

Digital comics will never replace the sheer nerd joy of the below however.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

iPad adventure

I bought an iPad mini yesterday and I'm using it to write this post. I'm not sure that I needed it but it is a nice toy. It has a lot of the functionality of a laptop but it's only the size of a paperback. I don't want or need a smartphone so this is a nice substitute.

I did have a bit of a negative encounter with a mobile broadband provider yesterday (3 mobile who have the worst customer service ever) but generally the whole experience is great. Some functionality is missing compared with my laptop but not much.

I've got a few text books on here and some PDFs for work. I also have a couple of comic reading apps which is interesting. I don't want to overfill it with music so I just have a bit of Spacemen 3 and Philip Glass on here just now.

If my 8 year old self saw me now I would have believed that the future was here.

Thatcher is dead

An old lady who suffered from dementia and stroke died last week. She lived in luxury in the Ritz hotel. She did not believe in society and her modern disciples have made things more difficult for the worst off in society. She is lucky she was rich.

Thatcher stamped on our country and the word. She dominated my childhood and gave many of us a target to shout at. We are Thatcher's children but we don't need to like our parents.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Uncle Books by JP Martin

When I was a child my parents had a couple of paperback novels from the Uncle series by JP Martin.  I was also able to borrow one or two of the other books in  the series from the local library.  Uncle is an  imperialist elephant who lives in a massive castle and lives a life of luxury.  He is troubled by the unpleasant inhabitants of Badfort who regularly cause him problems.  Uncle is a flawed hero but the stories are entertaining and beautifully illustrated by Quentin Blake.

Sadly, the books are hard to obtain.  They have been out-of-print for several decades and second-hand copies cost several hundred pounds.  Thankfully, someone has started a Kickstarter project to reprint them.

Uncle Kickstarter Project

This project on Kickstarter seems to be going well and the initial target has already been met.  I've backed the project and I'm anticipating the books.  If you like books or have kids that like books (or may like books in the future) I urge you to invest!