Following on from my decision to disconnect entirely from socially irresponsible, fuel-guzzling Amazon, I’ve started a wishlist at ThingsILove (from hatmandu, who in turn I think got it from julietk). I jotted down a few of these this morning, and went into town to do the shopping, and see what my local independent could do about some rather far-out purchases.
Witney has only one dedicated music store, and it’s also an independent: Rapture Records, which as far as I’ve been able to ascertain has nothing to do with American end-of-the-world cults. K. has been in there before, and primed me that there was someone with a small John Peel badge, so I had high hopes. I’d been in there too, but not in anger: the contents of the shelves are an odd mix, because Witney has ageing demographics, and an odd bundle of emo goths, and hordes of chavs. But they’d also pulled all the stops out for one piece of our wedding music, so I had high hopes.
I found Ringleader of the Tormentors for a sub-Amazon sales price, and took a chance on the vomit-at-Reading Be Your Own Pet. On the way to the counter I spotted Gruff Rhys’ new Candylion, which everyone has been saying is like Yr Atal Genhedlaeth but with actual songs rather than just catchy 4-track demos. It didn’t bode well that I couldn’t see Beardy Peely anywhere behind the tills, but there was a chap who looked approachable but square—there are very few items of clothing you can tuck into jeans, and lumberjack shirts aren’t on the list—and I went to him.
My first, fairly easy test for a local village music shop was to ask about CSS, the album from Brazilian overstyled electro-rockers Cansei de Ser Sexy. “It wasn’t on the shelves,” I asked in my finest posh-surprised tone.
“Oh, yeah,” he replied. “It’s being re-released. Should be out on the 21st. I can order it in if you like, though.”
“That’d be great,” I mumbled; then, rallying, I added: “I’m also after Datarock, their eponymous album.”
He frowned. Ha, I thought. Got you. But, no: “Small label, isn’t it? Yap or someone. Yeah, we can order that in for next weekend. Tell you what, we’ll ring these through, and I’ll stick a couple of samplers in there, and then I’ll get on the computer.”
As he was bent over the plastic bags, a tweedy-dressed bearded chap with a badged lapel popped up from behind the counter, a sort of hairy indie Zebedee. It was like the beginning of a children’s TV programme, where one puppet with a head of wood and body of cloth is talking as if to themselves, and wondering where some other similarly constructed puppet—called something like Fluffyhead Exciteables—could possibly be, when the latter appears as if on a spring from below the level of wall that the puppeteers are hiding behind. The head of this new staff member swivelled to survey the clientele with wide cheery eyes, and a big grin formed, half-hidden in a mass of brow curls.
“What? What’s that?” he said through his smiling chops. “Did I hear someone mention CSS?”
This all bodes rather well.