Stratford Record Fair

I went to Stratford Upon Avon record fair today and it was pretty big, there were certainly a lot of stalls there. I wandered around for about 90 minutes, speaking to absolutely nobody as I did some crate digging and, sadly, finding nothing that I really wanted. The more I go to record fairs the less I seem to find and, to be honest, I’m enjoying it less and less.

The problem for me is that there are certain records that I’m looking for and, more often than not, I don’t find them and when I do thy are often more than I am prepared to pay. An example today was Alpha Centuri by Tangerine Dream, I nearly bought it but it was £20 and didn’t have a gatefold sleeve. I can go on to discogs right now and get a near mint gatefold copy for £10.99 plus shipping, so why buy the one at the record fair?

It’s also often quite annoying. The whole front of a stall was blocked by people and I waited patiently to get to the one crate I was interested in, then I waited less patiently and after 10 minutes I went to another stall, came back 10 minutes later and the same guy was still microscopically checking every album in the crate even though he didn’t seem to have any intention of buying them, he was on a rather odd mission it seemed. So I never looked in that crate and left wondering if it was the one that held a record that I might buy.

There was another stall that had a lot of records, all in yellowing plastic sleeves containing quite ordinary records that were listed as mint despite the ringwear and scuffed covers. Perhaps they were mint when he got them and he has been carting them around record fairs for decades.

I am less and less inclined to go to record fairs, which is a shame, but I think there’s a much better chance of finding something good in a used record shop than at a fair.

SJ Records – Stratford Upon Avon

I was in Stratford Upon Avon today and found myself with a spare couple of hours so I did a quick search on my phone and found SJ Records, which is upstairs in an antique centre opposite Shakespeare’s birthplace. The chap there, who is originally from California, was great. We chatted about records as I flicked through the crates and built a little pile of records that I wanted on a chair. At one point he went off to get a pepsi and offered me one as well, which was very friendly I must say. Here is a quick 30 second look around, although this video I took does make me a little giddy:

There’s very much something for most tastes there and a few things I had, like a really nice copy of Mr.Beast by Mogwai, which I would have bought if I didn’t already have it. There’s some quite pricey records but the vast majority are between £4 and £8. Roughly in line with what one might expect to pay on Ebay but, of course, without the postage cost and the very good company whilst browsing.

So what did I buy? Quite a few 12″ singles, some were a little bit impulse, which is not necessarily a bad thing as I rarely regret impulse buys of vinyl. There were a load of 12″ by The Cult, who I have a soft spot for ever since I first heard ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ so I picked those up, even though I have the albums they are taken from. How could I resist this though?

r-370578-1393358639-5260-jpeg

In fact, here it is on video (I sound old fashioned saying that I know but what else am I supposed to say?), TURN UP THE VOLUME!

Ok, so I just had to listen to that three times before carrying on, it’s one of my faviourites of theirs. Then there was Lil’ Devil, classic rock lyrics!:

Livin’ in a shack in a one-horse town
Trying to get to heaven ‘fore the sun goin’ down
Lizard in a bottle, yeah

Dizzy in a haze for 40 days
Hey there, little devil

Come on little devil
Be my little angel
Come on little devil
Be my, yeah, angel, ow

Oh, she came on with an alligator smile
Dynamite lover, scorpion child
Trying to get to heaven ‘fore the sun goes down, yeah

She came on with a cyclone kiss
Hey there baby, you don’t never miss
Lizard in a bottle, oh yeah

The third 12″ single I picked up was from the same album, ‘Electric’ (which is a great album, get yourself a copy), ‘Wildflower’:

The fourth, ‘Rain’, was a mistake. It’s from their second album, ‘Love’ and I like it a lot, but I already have the 12″, so now I have 2, it was £3 so not the end of the world, but I actually picked the wrong one up and left the one I wanted there. Oh well, it might still be there next time I go back and it’s an excuse to put it down below:

These guys are still going, still writing and releasing new music and I’m going to be picking up their latest album at some point. I’ve seen it on the racks but there’s always been something that I wanted that little bit more.

I bought another 4 12″ singles and a couple of albums and as I was about to pay I was given an £8 Tangerine Dream album (Phaedra) that I’d been looking at as a thanks for buying the other records, which was just wonderful, it made my day. So if you ever happen to be in Stratford Upon Avon then pop in, you never know, you might just have a pleasant time and find a record you’ve been looking for.