Thursday, December 14, 2017

Recent barngains

 Joanna Newsom, Have one on me, 3 LP box set, £1, RSPCA
This was almost a missed barngain – a young hipster (beard, hat) had the record in his hands, wasn't sure about it, looked it up on his phone – I was watching him out of the corner of my eye whilst pretending to browse a book (Jay Z's Decoded), heart beating like crazy – then he put it back. What made him put him back (apart from my staring with daggers at him)? That it's a great album (9.2 on Pitchfork)? That it's worth over £30? I admit, Newsom isn't to everyone's taste – her combination of childlike, sometimes screechy vocals combined with difficult lyrics and accompanying harp grates for many, but I love her. One album over three LPs (clocking in at just over two hours) though, involves six switching over of record sides. Nevertheless, a beautiful box set, not complaining at all.

Grayson Perry, updated and expanded Thames and Hudson monograph, £4, Sue Ryder
Signed by Grayson Perry! Found on the floor, underneath a pile of other books, underneath the actual bookshelves.

Brutal London: Construct your own concrete capital, £4, British Heart Foundation
Lovely book focusing on nine buildings in the capital (including the Alton Estate); includes card cut-out models of each so you can construct your own mini brutalist city.

L'Amour, Lewis
Silent Passage, Bob Carpenter
Crossroads, Kenny Knight
All CDs, £1 each, MIND 
To sell anything nowadays, a good story is needed. Audio obsessives love a treasure hunt and mystery to be solved as much as anyone, and record labels such as Paradise of Bachelors and Light in the Attic specialise in re-issuing long-lost gems, along with alluring narratives to go along with them.

A 1980s Nick Drake, if you will, all hesitant and almost whispered vocals, synths and guitars, Lewis was the nom de plume of stockbroker Randall Wulff, who privately pressed a couple of LPs which vanished without trace. His first LP was eventually found in a flea market, and the rest is history. Sort of. Randall was eventually tracked down several years after the CD release, and showed no interest at all in it, or any of the royalties.

Previously on Barnflakes:
London through its charity shops

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