The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… Auntie’s “Banned” Records

Back in the Sixties, the Guinness Book Of Records – then the definitive and comprehensive authority on all records – stated that the BBC had the biggest record collection in the World, being some 700,000 strong.

These days, the GBR is a shadow of its former self, having been SOLD by Guinness and since then, passed through various hands, until now all it has is lots of pictures – and details of how many gobstoppers some dick-head was able to get into his big mouth, before losing consciousness.

Thus this writer was unable to discover who currently holds the record record (sic). According to one report: in 1992, Auntie’s collection had grown to “over a million” – but after that, there is nothing. Digital appears to have killed off the whole concept of “records”.

Meanwhile, a bloke in Pittsburgh by the name of Paul Mawhinney had a climate-controlled warehouse containing over THREE million records. He ran a record business for decades and kept one copy of every record that came through his store.

But it proved to be something of an albatross around his neck. He has been trying to OFFLOAD the collection for years.

First, he sold it to a guy for 28 million bucks – but the dot-com bubble-burst screwed THAT up, so in desperation he put it onto Ebay, where he got a bid of just three million.

But then, to add insult to injury, the bidder turned out to be a crook and/or loony and/or time-waster and/or any combination of the afore-mentioned – and so that TOO went tits-up.

So he put it back onto Ebay – but then the LATEST financial crash happened.

Currently, Mr Mawhinney’s health is deteriorating, so plans are afoot to unload the whole thing into various museums and/or sound libraries.

I FEEL for Mawhinney. I too have a big record, audio- and video-tape and disk collection (although at barely 5,000, it is hardly in the same league as Auntie’s or Paul’s) and am now well-stricken in years – so a while back, I began to worry about what would happen to it when I joined my ancestors.

My solution – along with OTHER collectors – was to upload the gems onto YouTube (while doing my best to dodge their arbitrary, erratic, outdated and grossly unfair “strike” system). It took me nearly TWO YEARS to complete the project – but to date, my uploads have received around 30 MILLION hits (presently 100,000-odd a day).

So even if YouTube deletes my accounts (thus depriving themselves of SIGNIFICANT revenue) or some moronic hacker screws them up – or YouTube’s cleaner pulls the plug on the mainframe, to plug their hoover in – thirty million people have ALREADY hit my stuff. And no-one can take THAT away from me.

Therefore, my collection is now just so much plastic, as far as I am concerned. The value of records/tapes/disks is tough enough to realize when they are new – but a third of my stuff is second-hand – and another third self-recorded. AND it is located in Thailand.

Thus, unloading it before I pegged out could have ended up giving me even more headaches than Mr Mawhinney experienced.

Of course, size isn’t everything. While Paul’s collection may be three times the size of Auntie’s – the bulk of its content is AMERICAN.

Whereas the BBC has a copy of EVERY record EVER RELEASED in BRITAIN – or damn near close to it. And that includes some which she has NEVER AIRED (he typed – FINALLY getting around to the NUB of this piece).

Oh yes, while Auntie POSSESSES every record released in Britain, there are a number of “red-flagged” ones, which indicates they may NOT be aired.

Of course, she still BOUGHT them, since she could not tell what the future held – while something might not be acceptable at the time of its release, in later years attitudes might change.

And those red-flagged discs include some strange choices…

Chuck Berry’s 70s novelty hit “My Ding-A-Ling” was widely banned at the time – and in some places, still is. But (possibly to IRRITATE the self-appointed defender of public morality, Mrs Mary Shi… sorry, WHITEhouse) Auntie decided it was OKAY.

She also allowed Lena Horne’s “New Fangled Tango” to be aired – even on kids’ radio – despite its ambiguous lyric (although even after all these years, this author STILL does not know whether it is dodgy or not). One assumes Auntie figured someone with the CLASS of Ms Horne would NEVER STOOP to singing anything risqué.

Then again, many other records HAVE received red flags…

“Bellylick” (just on the TITLE) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws2Hwb2KLZ8 – EVERYTHING by “Judge Dread” – ALL versions of “Louis, Louis” (even ones where the – largely innocuous – lyrics are unintelligible) – and anything by “Doc Cox” – like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYwlbANUoxg

ALL of the above can (usually) be found on YouTube – the two URLs are leads to a couple of MINE – but hold off until you have read the rest of THIS, okay? The bit at the end, you will NOT want to miss.

Where was I? Oh, yes – Auntie’s most EMBARRASSING red-flaggers were ones which, DESPITE them having no BBC air-play, STILL reached Number One in the Pop record charts (for younger readers, Pop record charts were things compiled in the days when there was still POP).

The thing was – the BBC had a number of radio and TV shows that did a run-down (or rather, run-UP) of the week’s Top Twenty. And when the presenter reached Number One – it was hard to look/sound cool while announcing they could not PLAY it.

A prime example was Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgyAgsDo4sw  (another of my uploads). In order to HEAD OFF another fiasco, Auntie went cap in hand to FGTH’s management and asked them to issue a statement that the song’s lyrics had nothing to do with sex – then they could play it.

Said management told her to take a HIKE. They said, “Relax will be Number One next week WITH OR WITHOUT your airplay” – and of course, they were right.

But now Pop is dead. And while Auntie might trim the excesses of Lady Gaga, the naughtiness that pervaded the era of Pop has gone with it.

Even the BEATLES had a lyric that ran, “She’s a prick-teaser” – from “Day Tripper” – but were wise enough to publish “BIG teaser” as the OFFICIAL lyric (if you listen closely, you can hear Paul sing “big” and John – of course – sing “prick”).

In My Day, we had such fun watching The System try to deal with Pop promoter’s “naughty bits” – but now, all you have to do is put a “Parental Guidance…” sticker on the cover and the kids will buy (or download) the material without ever HEARING it on the RADIO (what’s radio, Dad?)

Before closing this piece, I MUST include a DESCRIPTION I found on Ebay (while researching Paul Mawhinney’s story) of a record collection that a British Rockabilly DJ was trying to sell. Dammit, he’s a better writer than I AM!

Enjoy…

“You are bidding on a collection of 50 (approx) 12” singles and LPs of crap music.

My sister found these in her attic last weekend, where they has been sat gathering dust for the last couple of decades. They used to belong to her ex-husband, who is one of the biggest arseholes ever to draw breath. I never liked the wanker, and based my initial antipathy towards him on his taste in music. Not to put too fine a point on it, he was that most contemptible form of pond life, a Jazz Funker.

This meant that as well as a sh*t taste in music, he had appalling taste in clothes too. Pringle jumpers, pleated Farrahs, shoes that looked like pasties, white socks, revolting shirts and a comical wedge-cut hairdon’t. Add to this 80s fashion horror-show a Ford Capri and Super Mario-style moustache underlining his bulbous nose, and you get an object lesson in twatdom. No wonder Northern Soul fans (and everyone else) treated the Jazz Funk fans with sneering contempt.

I couldn’t comprehend what on earth my usually sensible sister could possibly see in the pillock. In vain I pleaded with her to send him packing. My argument that his hankering for Earth Wind & Fire records and attendance at soul weekenders made him a poor choice of mate was waved away as the rantings of a callow youth. She felt my reasoning was unsound.

Reader, she married him.

He made her life miserable for a few years with his moping, moody belligerence (and playing horrendous records like these). He told her lies and generally behaved like a platinum c*nt. Then he dumped her for his mistress when my sister was four months pregnant.

It’s now nearly twenty years later and I would still like to take a meat tenderiser to his face. But his most horrendous crime, worse than wiring up my granny’s shower so it was electrically live, worse even than his infidelity or the awful way he treated my sister, was the fact that he actually liked the abomination known as Jazz Funk. Here is the evidence. What a bastard.

Well, I suppose I’d better tell you what’s for sale, though why you would actually want to own this dreck is beyond me. It’s basically music for people who have a deep-seated hatred of music and want to inflict their pain on the world. But here goes nothing.

[he lists the singles]

I mean, Shakatak for f*cks sake. What a pr*ck. And surely he must have realised that buying anything by Shalamar would open him up to ridicule. Even those bands’ mothers couldn’t bear to listen to that stuff. I know I couldn’t. None of this is play graded, only visually. I just could not bring myself to dirty my stylus with this bollocks.

Boring stuff I grade conservatively, particularly when I don’t like the records. Don’t ask me to split this lot. You buy it, you buy all of it and pay the shipping. I’m not keeping it in my house any longer than strictly necessary. For the same reason, no returns. I don’t want it back.

Shipping in UK is £15 because the weight is approx 10kg. I’m willing to ship overseas at cost, but it’s likely to be expensive (maybe £45 in Europe) and frankly this crap isn’t worth the stamps. If you want to collect from Croydon, that’s OK but I will look at you with a contemptuous sneer as you stand in my doorway, proving by your purchase that you are tone deaf and tasteless.

Good luck, and God help you for liking this drivel.

Jude Calvert-Toulmin.”

Ha-haaaar! Classic.

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