Sunday, October 11, 2009

On the road

Last weekend I hopped over to Perth, my old hometown. And indeed to Collie, my late father's old hometown. Nowadays my uncle and cousin live in Collie, two hours south of Perth.

It was great to see Greg and Zoe again. Zoe I haven't seen since she about 13. She's now in her 20s and a theatre nurse. Seems she's not at all put off by the sight of strangers' innards. Zoe told me a very funny story about our grandfather, who arrived in Collie around the mid-1950s. Being a town built on, surprise, surprise - coal mining - Collie was a strong union town. And it seems my grandfather hated unions and wasted no time in letting his feelings be known.

No surprise then that his time in the south-west was not profitable. Indeed, it was something of a financial disaster. Though perhaps this had as much to do with his interest in the gee-gees and associated punting as with the politics of Karl Marx. And perhaps explains my father's politics, which were resolutely anti-Labor. I had always found this strange since he was hardly born to the manor (the stable more likely).

The main reason for going was to see some friends and family and to pick up my vinyl albums.I drove down with Jim, who I used to do a lot of radio programming with. So there's another bit of history, right there. We had a great time rolling past the green, sodden paddocks and through the small towns along the South West Highway. And avoiding the delights of Mandurah.

My uncle Greg had 40 kilos worth of vintage vinyl stored away. That equates to about 150 lps and the odd single. All up I reckon the trip cost around $1000, which works out at about $7 per disc. Wouldn't it have been easier to download them? Yes, I suppose. Sort of. Maybe. Not really. Can you download the first James single, Folklore? No, it seems not. Is worth $1,000? Umm.

Can you download Steve McQueen by Prefab Sprout? Of course. $16.99 and it's mine all over again. But there it was, the record that cost me my job when I told the boss I took a day off work to stay home and review it (with Peter Bonner). D'uh. Or Howlin' Wolf's double anthology for Chess. No, can't get that either.

Anyway, there are all sorts of things in there, some good, some so-so. Some, like Culture Club's 12 of Karma Chameleon with picture sleeve of course, puzzling to say to the least. A 2008 re-issue of The Smiths This Charming Man is currently asking US$10, so I'm in front right there.

1 comment:

Penni said...

It sounds like the basis for a film or a Nick Hornby novel, one man's journey across the country and into the past, to pick up records of dubious monetary worth but of infinite value in terms of private narrative - a trip for the archivist in us all.