Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 29/07/96

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

The joy of finding rare records

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who would understand why I would pay $40 for a second-hand vinyl 7" single from the late 1970s featuring tracks I already own, and those who wouldn't. If you belong to the second category, you may as well stop reading now: what you encounter here will only depress you.

Binges in second-hand record shops are one of my many weaknesses. There's nothing like finding a single you've been looking for for years and had given up on the existence of, or tracking down a record you loved when you were 13 but which mysteriously 'disappeared' from your collection sometime before your early twenties. Sometimes, if you're lucky, the record will cost you less than it would have at the time. You can still call it breaking even if you pay now the same price that someone would have paid then. And if, by some unfortunate twist of events, you're forced to pay ten times what the record would have sold for in its heyday . . . well, that's life, isn't it?

On my most recent record-buying binge, I got real lucky. I managed to pick up a couple of ABBA rarities, and four Kirsty MacColl twelve inch singles swathed in rare and obscure B-sides and remixes. Best of all, though, I got hold of the Kirsty MacColl album, Desperate Character, which, for those of you not familiar with her work, is a bit like finding the Holy Grail.

This was MacColl's first album, and she wasn't to record another one for eight years. The cover (a detail of which is reproduced here) gives you a fair clue that it was in fact released in 1981. If it didn't, the production might give it away, although there's a lack of synethesisers (de rigeur in the year that saw the New Romantics take chart control).

Maybe this explains why Desperate Character has never been released on CD. While one of the tracks on here is featured on the MacColl greatest hits compilation Galore, and some seven pop up on the Stiff cash-in CD The Essential Collection, there are five that are available in no other medium. MacColl addicts pray nightly that this album might one day be released on CD, but until then, a vinyl copy is better than no copy at all. Now all I need is a picture disc of The Best Of ABBA . . .

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