Get it in the van

Get it in the van

This post is all about getting your vinyl to market. Yes quite literally! If you think this means uploading pictures of LPs to ebay or discogs then this isn’t for you. This is about hard graft . If that hasn’t put you off then read on…

As soon as the week starts I’m already looking at the weather forecast. Thinking , what’s it going to be like this Thursday? You see there’s nothing worse than packing the van in the morning and waking up to find it’s pouring down with rain.  So quite often I’ll fill the van a day early. In the winter when the dark mornings make it even trickier, I’ll always have the van full by the end of Wednesday afternoon.

So is there a knack to packing the van or is it just “pile it in” ? Are you kidding?

Not only do I pack records, which have to be  handled rather carefully (as a box full is flipping ‘eavey and 20 boxes is flipping twenty times as heavy) but I also sell turntables so they have to be carefully packed for the long journey over Exmoor (the A399) to South Molton. On the way to market I pass a 1 in 3 hill (33% incline to anyone reading this in Europe) and follow the windy road alongside the River Bray so it’s quite a test for my packing skills. As well as the turntables I’m selling there’s also the turntable, amp and speakers for me to play my tunes on. There’s the record cleaning machine to carefully pack plus a rather snazzy light display in the shape of a quaver (or is that a semi tone? or crotchet ? help me someone !). Like the one Frazer has in this picture below…

turntables, amp, speakers and signs are some of the electrical items transported in the van

 

So you see it all needs carefully packing and there’s a number of things that I do to help me along the way…

I don’t stack things high and if you’re looking to take stuff to market you would be well advised, if you have room, to spread out all your stuff in the bottom of the van and don’t try to get it up to the roof . Watch your back too ! Avoid leaning into the van to pick up heavy boxes, instead push or pull them into position. That’s hell of a lot easier if you have the van plywood lined as it makes it easy to slide stuff in and out. I use a trolley to get the gear from and to the van (or should that be to and fro) and when taking everything out the van , I make sure the stall is ready so I can place all the boxes, equipment and records in the correct place on the stall. That means getting the table cloths out first to cover the tressles when I get to market so I don’t empty the van of boxes and then have to pick the boxes up again later. It really is a pain if you’ve not planned the move and have to move the same thing twice! So think hard, save your back and plan ahead.

When it comes to looking after your records you obviously need to put them in some good solid strong plastic boxes, similar to these below. Don’t carry records around in bags – get them boxed up and if you buy records, then make sure you take an empty box with you so you can protect any you buy when you come home. If you do have a helper then don’t forget to leave the passenger seat free, in fact get in the habit of always leaving the seat empty. You never know when you’ll buy a bumper pile of records and have no where to put them or more likely, the wife rings and wants you to bring back a loaf of bread, pint of milk and six bags of compost.

arriving at the market

Also don’t forget the five things you’re most likely to forget – your phone, table cloths, plenty of change (for parking meter) and extension lead and the most important thing that every trader needs – your hat !

Me with Customer.

… and finally allow plenty of time to get to the market,

…unless of course there is always a massive queue of record buyers waiting with wads of tenners for you to arrive the moment you get to the market. In which case, put your foot down and drive like the wind,  there’s no time to lose!

 

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Kinks Review

Kinks Review

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Ok so they are actually called the Kast off Kinks, but they are not a tribute band, they’re the Kinks! At the bottom of the blog is a link explaining the line up and which of the original Kinks are in the band now but at the Poltimore, Yarde Down (not far from Brayford, North Devon), who cares if they’re cast off?

It’s hard to believe it but the Poltimore arms, Yarde Down is one of the last pubs on the English mainland to still not be connected to mains electricity. So it’s particularly amazing that they chose to do a gig here, but what a brilliant event this turned out to be. This was the second year Steve and co had put on such an event and it turned out to be even better than last year. Of course the weather had a lot to do with it (it rained last year), coupled with a much larger covered section in front of the stage which greatly improved the atmosphere and a larger crowd.

I have to admit that I was rather late getting to the event so I missed all the fun in the afternoon and early evening. What was worse I missed the Flaming Rat Rods which was real blow as they are always great https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMJSy–G9qg

I did see Big Boy Bloater who was holding his own on the stage banging out some tunes on his guitar in front of a lively audience.

crowd

The Poltimore  had really got the organisation sussed. I am normally one for picking holes in events and thinking up ways to improve things but I was struggling here. Great parking, despite fairly heavy rain the day before the fields were pretty dry, entrance was neat and easy to find and well marshalled. Drinks were via tokens so I got six tokens for £20 which was 6 pints worth, again not bad price for a venue. There were toilets inside the pub and supplementing these were some porta loos. There was food on, but I gave that a wide birth and got straight into the cider – scrumpyesq – really nice stuff. OK so maybe there was one complaint – we need this event more than once a year !

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When the band came on they played all their hits, Lola, Waterloo Sunset, Sunny After, Come Dancing, Dead End Street and You Really Got Me.

This was an excellent evening with a lovely crowd. Bring on 2016.

here’s a quote from kast off Kinks website

The Kast Off Kinks formed in 1994 to keep the music playing on, and it is what the name implies – the original line-up consisted of the band that played Lola (apart from Ray and Dave) – Avory, Dalton and Gosling – together In 2009, the line-up became the band that played Come Dancing – Avory, Gibbons and Rodford (respectively the Kinks’ longest-serving drummer, keyboard player and bassist) – still with Dave Clarke covering for the Davies brothers. Jim then became very busy playing with The Zombies and Argent, so John Dalton was persuaded out of retirement to stand in for him and now plays very regularly with The Kast Off Kinks .

Almost every other ex-Kink has guested with The Kast Off Kinks, including Ray Davies.

kinks

Never mind the censorship – here’s the Sex Pistols

Never mind the censorship – here’s the Sex Pistols

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I was just reading through this old copy of Music week the other day (like you do ) and came across this interesting article from 1977  regarding the display of the “obscene” Sex Pistols album “Never mind the bollocks ” in shop windows. It occurred that a Virgin shop in Nottingham was actually charged under the 1889 indecent advertising act and had an album confiscated by the police. I bet, at the time, Richard Branson was lapping this up, I mean you couldn’t buy that sort of publicity , could you? Certainly beats having to jump from planes, go round the world in balloons and into space in rockets to get a mention in the news!

What a load of Bollocks

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To find out more https://www.acc.umu.se/~samhain/summerofhate/courtcase.html

I am a market trader

me

Welcome to Rascal Records

My name is Ripley Ripley and I am a Market Trader. The first rule of being a market trader in South Molton is: you always talk about being a market trader in South Molton. The second rule of being a market trader in South Molton is: you ALWAYS talk about being a market trader in South Molton.! Third rule is: When it’s 1 o’clock the markets over. Fourth rule: only two entrances to the market. Fifth rule: one record playing at a time . Sixth rule: No fighting between customers and traders, definitely no weapons. Seventh rule: Market goes on till 1pm (it’s a point worth repeating). And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at South Molton Pannier market – then you have to BUY SOMETHING.”

Please note – Smoking is not permitted in South Molton Market therefore Brad Pitt would not be allowed in as a trader or a customer (not sure but this may be the ninth rule )

Brad-Pitt-in-Fight-Club-001

Why Vinyl?

Why Vinyl?

Well many people have been asking me, why is there such resurgence in vinyl? Well I’ve a few thoughts on it so here goes…

Nostalgia

For some of us older folk, there’s something to be said for saying it’s a nostalgia trip. I also think for many of us in our forties and fifties (and older of course) there’s also the opportunity to buy albums, that when they were released, we couldn’t afford. I remember in 1973 buying my first “proper” (and not half price) LP (wings, band on the run) and it cost about £2.50. That represented five weeks pocket money! It’s no surprise that my teenage record collection was a bit sparse. Of course I could spread the cost a long way by buying “session singer albums” called top of the pops and looking through the Woolworths half price section and that’s what I did. But it did mean that my album collection represented the best of “half price” LP records from the 70s. It’ll come as no surprise that for me (and many others “my age”) albums are at last affordable and slot in very nicely with my mid life crisis.

Just out of interest I wondered if the £2.50 LP of 1973 was expensive so I checked it up on the inflation calculator – The same album today would cost around £30 now if it was linked to inflation (you can buy five copies for this price now, if I had five copies of course)  http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1633409/Historic-inflation-calculator-value-money-changed-1900.html

Fashion

But ¼ of my customers (and a similar percentage globally) are buying vinyl and they’re under thirty years old. That means that most of them weren’t born when WH Smiths (and other major retailers) cleared their shelves of vinyl in 1992. So they’re not buying records for nostalgia. I’m thinking the main attraction here for the younger generation is that vinyl is in fashion? Take a look through adverts on TV or in shop windows and it isn’t long before you’ll see a record player or LP show up . Sometimes they’re used in shop window displays, or as decorations in stores not even selling music and they are in TV and lots of films. They are in fashion – LPs are fashionable – vinyl is fashionable. The other good thing about them that makes them fashionable is that they’re not mainstream – they can’t be bought in Tesco, they can’t be played on the iphone. Coolness – are records cool? Why of course they are and so are record players (also known as turntables by proper record collectors and boffins who really know stuff). There’s a huge increase in the use of turntables and records in advertising on TV and in print. The new Mercedes TV advert features a record playing on a turntable before it switches to the hub of the car (they didn’t choose a cd? ) If you walk down the high street in any city you might come across a record store but even if you don’t it won’t be too long before you see records or turntables either used in the window display or inside the shop for decoration . I’ve seen them used in a few fashion shops in Exeter and even in John Lewis Exeter. So they are cool – they’re also lovely and big so they make great displays, one reason why cds are not wildly used . Come to think of it what else could be used more effectively for window dressing – you’re not likely to see a download being used are you?

Records and particularly the needle setting down into the groove are used in dozens of films, new and old. I notice them a lot, next time you watch a new film, keep your eye out for them, I’m sure you’ll spot how often they are used. Of course you just can’t beat vinyl in the classics, for me it’s The Shawshank Redemption when Marriage of Figaro is played over the wardens record player by an offender https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzuM2XTnpSA and then this one from Marilyn Monroe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDpwBeDkrHY It’s a brilliant clip, stick with it till the end, her husband is obviously not a fan of vinyl .

Serious Music Fans

Vinyl is for people who want to listen to music. We’ll all say it has more clarity than CDs or downloads, but the truth is we’re going to notice the music more, because the act of playing a record means we’re engaged in the process of making the music ourselves. It’s such a drawn out process that we force ourselves to listen to the results, it’s bound to sound good if we take the time to listen, isn’t it? We take the record out of the cover and sleeve and carefully select a side positioning it centrally onto the turntable. Then we guide the arm across and carefully lower the needle down to connect onto the first groove. It’s then that we listen, aware we’ve a maximum of 30 minutes before the music will end and we’ll have to repeat the process if we want it to continue.

Vinyl makes us listen, it’s the key element that makes it sound so good.

Big

How about the look and feel of vinyl for a genuine reason for its popularity? You only have to compare the LP to a CD or Cassette and straight away you’ll be impressed by how big the media is. You get a full 300x300mm album cover plus similar sized inserts with (in some case) the words of the song and pictures of the artist. Sometimes there are postcards included in the album sleeve and some are double sized so they open up to a whopping 600x300mm (that’s 2ft x one foot to pre decimal people). That is a mighty fine piece of art work and a huge reason why they are so popular. Some of the new repressings also come with a free download (ironic that so far, there aren’t any downloads that come with a free album on vinyl). I won’t compare how great a vinyl LP is compared to downloads because there really is no comparison – owning is always better than renting!

It’s still Legal

Now for me there’s just one more reason why vinyl’s making a comeback – Have you ever seen Tom Cruise in the scifi film Oblivion ? If you have then you know where I’m heading, if you haven’t then here’s the story…

Tom lives a sterile life in a sterile house with a sterile wife (not sure that sounds right) , all his clothes are white, all neatly pressed (it’s the sort of life Steve Jobs would select for us all ) everything is the same, it’s all perfect, all neat, all in order – no disorder . But Tom has a secret; when he goes out on his own on his daily missions in his little spaceship he sneaks off the map and goes off grid. Boy, does he go off grid ? He has a make shift shack that he escapes to down on earth. It’s dirty and disorganised, nothings white and nothings sterile, but it’s real and guess what? He’s got a record player (powered by solar panel I suppose) with a pile of LPs. I can’t remember what’s in the collection but I’m sure there’s Led Zeppellin and some real classics. In the end he selects whiter shade of pale (which, for a comparison with the apple way of life, it’s quite ironic, don’t you think?) but it all adds up to the fact that records are a way of escaping from the world …

Humanities last refuge…

So let’s play them while we can , before they become illegal !

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