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Miscellaneous - Vinyl Stories

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 16 / 7 / 2020

Miscellaneous - Vinyl Stories


This month's 'Vinyl Stories' is a rollicking, rip-roaring and surprisingly hair-raising tale from Pete Smith of life at the sharp end of record collecting,

This months Vinyl Stories has us finishing our trilogy of Pete Smith specials with another of Pete's great stories which this month comes from November 2012. Pete is a renowned collector and dealer of Northern Soul and Rare Soul records but he has another side too. He also collects and deals in Ska and Reggae records of the highest order. This little tale involves just that: I'll let Pete tell the tale and I'll just say thanks to him for the chance to air these witty narratives. For extra giggles, try reading this in a Brummie accent. I know Pete will kill me for calling him a Brummie but there’s no getting away from it. I bought a record by The Chandlers, on the Col Soul label, from the States. I think it cost about £215, and I thought I could make £100 profit on it. But the bloke I bought it off put the value on it at $300, so our lovely customs officers charged me £54 in excise duty and tax. The post office doesn't bother delivering these - you have to ring them up to arrange a later delivery or a pick-up. The nearest Parcelforce office is in Atcham, just outside Shrewsbury, which is about 25 miles away from me, but I thought it might be a nice ride out, and I could pick up a couple of Italian Job deep pan pizzas from Telford (the only place they do them round here) on the way. It started snowing just as I set off. I decide to get petrol and cash at the same time so I don't bother going to the only service station on the way, and I get into Telford, park outside the pizza place and go off to order. Turns out Deep Pan Pizza doesn't open for another three hours. So then I get back on the motorway and take the turn-off for Atcham. I go five miles past the business park where I am meant to go, and end up in Shrewsbury. I turn the car around and eventually find the place, hand over the money and take my record. By now it is pouring down with both rain and sleet. I get on the motorway where I got off and I make it around 500 yards before the engine cuts out and I run out of petrol. So I have to leave the warning indicators flashing and attempt to climb 30 feet up this grassy bank in the pouring rain, and I don't have a coat, just a jumper. After about 10 minutes of one-step-forward-two-steps-back comedy climbing, I get to the top of the bank, and there is a fence in front of me, about five feet high with barbed wire on the top. Beyond that is a field, and a road. I manage to get on top of the fence, get my balance, and O leap off into the field, landing brilliantly flat-footed in the mud and letting out a high-pitched scream of pain. I make it to the road and find a yokel who says there's a garage about a mile down the road, and I run all the way there. "Why didn't you phone for help", I hear you say. Because my phone had run out of credit and I could not work out how to dial up and get more! I bought an empty petrol can and while I was filling it up some kind soul overheard my plight and asked me where I'd broken down. "By the bridge", I said. I meant the footbridge, but he took me two miles back down the wrong way to the motorway bridge. I had to tell him we'd gone in the wrong direction and after he dropped me off, he had to go miles out of his way to get off the motorway! OK, so far, so bad. I poured the petrol into the tank, spilling half of it on me, which meant that when I finally got home, I had to put all my clothes in the wash. That included my favourite shoes, a pair of Vans I had imported after they stopped making that style about five years back. When the washing was done, the rubber soles were intact but the canvas had shrunk about two sizes so to get them on I would have had to have cut my toes off. By now I was feeling a strange pain in my ankle. Finally, I got to open up the package and get my hands on the Chandlers record. It was fucked, and I saw straight away that I was going to lose money on it. As the days progressed, my ankle got bigger and bigger, to the point where I went to the doctor yesterday to report that I had contracted elephantiasis in one leg. She said I'd sprained my ankle. Today I sold the Chandlers for £200, losing nearly £70 on the deal. I heard it tell me to piss off as I posted it. I sit here, a lone, hobbledehoy figure, unable to get down the stairs because my ankle hurts so much, and it's all down to those damned Chandlers.

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