Gentleman Hugh – Stranglers front man in North Devon

Gentleman Hugh – Stranglers front man in North Devon

I have to admit that I haven’t been paying too much attention to Hughs career since he split from the Stranglers in 1990. In fact I didn’t pay much attention to the Stranglers after they released their fifth, and extremely disappointing album “The Gospel According to the Men in Black” in 1981 so you could be forgiven for thinking my interest in Cornwell was only fleeting. However, nothing could be further from the truth as I still play Stranglers records on a regular basis and I still think of myself as a fan. I’m a creature of habit and play either Rattus Norvegicus IV or the White Side of “Black and White” at least once a month and have done for the last five years so I was thrilled to hear from my mate Steve that Hugh was appearing in the nearby market town of Great Torrington in North Devon at the Plough Theatre.

Steve and I both spoke before Hugh appeared of how he must look now and if we’d recognise him if we saw him in a pub. Would he be wearing a leather jacket and jeans, or perhaps a hat, bandana or something unconventional ? I was almost certain he’d still have that arrogant “lead singer” edge and would dress accordingly, but I was wrong. He looked just like a gent, possibly the least casual guy in the theatre wearing jacket, trousers, shirt and brogues – yes brogues !

cornwell-on-stage-at-Torrin

Hugh then delighted us with tunes from each of the first ten Stranglers albums in the first half of the concert followed by more tunes from his solo career in the second half. They were all acoustic, no tapes, no backing tracks, just Hugh and his guitar – pure genius. He kept us entertained between the songs with tales of the writing, the producers, the labels, the records, deals and the recordings and also gave us some advice – “Belgium, if you want decent food, avoid Paris, go to Belgium”. It was all so civilised.

He commented on a couple of people sneaking in and out between songs, a little controversy perhaps? No not at all, Hugh was the perfect gent. Wait a minute, what’s those stimulants he’s popping? Relax, just cough sweets ! He’s knocking those drinks back though? But hang on, it’s Ok it’s only water , still water , not fizzy ( I had noticed someone had swapped them before Hugh came on )

Me and Hugh Cornwell

After the show Steve and I made a brisk beeline for the reception were Hugh promised there was some signed “vinyl” to purchase and he was true to his word. Having opened a number of new LPs on my market stall I gave Hugh a hand and helped open up my copy of Hughs latest “Solo Greatest Hits” before he signed  “The Fall and Rise of Hugh Cornwell”

I asked him if he was surprised how remote we were in Torrington and he laughed, explaining he’d left from Brighton at lunch, he was knackered, North Devon was certainly remote and the drive was over five hours.  Mmmm, controversy at last!

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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!

 

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 !

posse

bar

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