Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Grizzled Skipper

DavyH over at The Ghost Of Electricity has been sharing with us some of the vinyl he was given recently by an acquaintance who was on the verging of chucking his records out! Can you believe it? I made this comment:

Word is getting around my friends and colleagues that I'm getting "just a bit obsessed" with vinyl. This has led to a couple of donations of "vinyl stashes" in recent months. But it's funny, I keep them separate to my own records and don't think of them as mine. This has confirmed my suspicions that I have turned into a true digger. It's all about the joy of the chase and the discovery. Only when you find a record yourself do you truly bond with it (he says caressing his Tighten Up Vol2 LP). It must nearly be time for my medication!

I thought I would expand a little on that comment and also tell you a little story that I’ve been meaning to tell you for a while.

Looking back at my childhood it is clear that my collecting instinct has always been strong, I guess it must be in my DNA. The first things I can remember collecting were corgybeers and taddyats. They were invisible but all over the garden, especially in the privet hedge next to our drive. I used to go out and gather up as many as I could in my little hands, take them inside, and give them to Mum. Soon I graduated to collecting something real – Brooke Bond Tea cards (British Butterflies, Wildlife In Danger, British Costume, Race Into Space etc. – I still have them all, lovingly stuck into their books). Then of course there were bus tickets, I Spy books, bubble gum cards, and stamps (I still have the bubble gum cards and the stamps too).

I must have been about 10 when a friend sparked my interest in collecting butterflies, and then moths too. We, literally, enjoyed the thrill of the chase with our butterfly nets. Initially we killed (in proper “killing jars”), and mounted our catches. But after a couple of years we grew uncomfortable about the killing aspect so we just simply recorded our catches and sightings. My interest in butterflies and moths has endured to this day, and I still record sightings of what I consider to be less common species (in fact let’s face it, they are all less common nowadays).

There are about 60 different species of butterflies that can be seen in Britain. Here is a picture of one of them, the Grizzled Skipper.

I hasten to add I didn’t take that picture. I have never seen a Grizzled Skipper……

Of course, now, my collecting instincts are being very much channeled towards the holy vinyl. This has taken on a whole new dimension this year (why not before I don’t know, he says, kicking himself) as I have discovered the joy of vinyl hunting at car boot sales. It beats trawling the charity shops hands down. In my experience the potential for an exciting find is much greater, the price you have to pay is usually less (often next to nothing), and you get to do your digging in the sunshine (hopefully) and the fresh air (ok, except for the occasional whiff of cigarette smoke – but then I like the smell of tobacco in the open air). All in all I have been very satisfied with my finds this year and I know I have shared a few of those with you.

For all the enjoyment my car booting has given me this year, though, I still find myself feeling a little envious of a friend of mine’s discovery a few months ago. This friend cannot walk past a rubbish skip in the street without having a poke around its contents to see what he can find that might be of some use – or value. A noble pursuit and one I have also been known to do. I’ve never found anything worth having though.

Anyway, there he was walking up to the local shop, in the pouring rain, when he approached this skip and spied on top of the assorted rubble, old doors, and general skippy contents a couple of carrier bags bursting at the seams… with records!

With, I daresay, a deftness borne out of years of practice he had those carrier bags off that skip and under his arm in a jiffy. The rain had got to the covers a bit but he got them home double quick and spread them out, opening the gatefold sleeves where relevant, and let them dry with no real damage done. I was duly invited around for a looksee and we spent a happy couple of hours inspecting his swag, which numbered about 30 albums and a few 12” singles mostly in great condition. There were a mix of genres including some soul, and as my friend is can take or leave that particular genre and knows I’m just “a bit mad” for it he very generously donated some of his swag to me.

These are the records I have acquired. They include some reggae which deep down I am treating as loan only because I know my friend is partial to a bit of reggae.

Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5
Jackson 5 - ABC
Jackson 5 – Third Album
Jackson 5 – Lookin’ Through The Windows
(all first press UK albums)
Freeez – Southern Freeez*
Mariposa(Butterfly) (mp3) 1980
Kleeer – License To Dream
Running Back To You (mp3) 1981

12” Singles:
D Train – You’re The One For Me*
Spectrum – Takin’ It To The Top*
Rockers Revenge – Walking On Sunshine
Hughie/Michael Administrators – You’re Lying/Summer Breeze
Johnny Osborne/Aswad – Don’t Bite The Hand (10”)
Lloyd Parks – Reservation For Two
Weapon Of Peace - If (mp3) 1981

(* I have these already, I ought to give them back really!)

However, as I said in my comment above, I keep all of these records separate to my own because, although the circumstances of their discovery were wonderful, and I am deeply grateful to my friend for letting me have them, at the end of the day it was not me that found them and therefore somehow I don’t think of them as belonging to me. And so it is I have come to realise that this collecting lark is not simply about accumulation. The nature of the hunt and the acquisition is important and is something that I have to initiate and conduct myself in order to feel, truly, that a record is mine.

Hang on a minute, quick, where’s my camera? There – snap - got it! Well, blow me, look at that:

It’s the grizzled skipper!


Raggedy said...

I just love the pic. of the human grizzles skipper ... lol
You prob. are obsessed. But contrary to most other obsessions, yours is a productive one, so to speak.

Darcy said...

He took some convincing that I should take his picture. He's a shy Skipper :)

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