A weekend was spent in Oxford for the Bookcrossing 2015 conference. Alongside the book swapping (there were a lot of books wild released on Sunday across Oxford). I managed to find Truck Store, purchasing the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mixtape #1 and a secondhand Never Loved Elvis by the Wonderstuff. Truck Store is nice, small and friendly, though I was a little put off by the coffee shop side of the business. Coffee drinkers aren't necessarily the best vinyl listeners, and watching boys under the age of ten run around knocking CD cases off shelves wasn't my kind of shopping experience.
What is my most desired shopping experience? Why yes, a publisher selling all the titles in a series. Oxford is home to Oxford University Press, a fact that had been unknown to me in a physical sense until walking pass the shop front. I like the Short Introductions series, and came away with some rarer (to me) titles including Ethnomusicology (like being an existentialist seems that I share some key traits of an ethnomusicologist), dinosaurs, and a signed book on the ice age. I know, signed and about the ice age.
Norwich is a fine city and is home to Fine City Sounds. While flicking through the rather lovely sized collection (and reasonably priced too) I got to listen to some interesting thoughts from another customer about Joy Division. Obscure is the word, though batdodah is also descriptive.
Obscure in a more pleasant way is searching for rare records by bands long disappeared. The Joy Division *fan* found something I wanted. Luckily he returned Urusei Yatsura's Fake Fur 7inch single on white vinyl. 'Tis a Pavement- and Sonic Youth-referencing joy.
I can remember my first ever Urusei Yatsura gig in Lincoln when they toured with Mogwai. On my record shelf there's a signed split single from the tour, and it is next to another split single from Lincoln, Agebaby and Olivia Honey.
All of that is almost twenty years ago. And yet, with that magic that music has, it's all there fresh in the memory. The absolute way Frequency Dip "came into my life and stayed there for a while" (to paraphrase Honesty Joe off the same l.p.). The way bands like Urusei Yatsura live on in collections, why it's nice finding The Fall and Diana and Marvin unexpectedly.
To bring all this up to date, while in Oxford I let something go for it to be returned to me differently. Mort by Terry Pratchett has many personal memories and experiences. I released the second copy of the paperback in Oxford (with some very life changing moments linked to it) and replaced it with a new hardback edition with silver leaf on the cover (I think it's silver leaf, could just be expensive tin foil).
One of my uncles introduced me to Discworld. I have nephews, I know my course of action.
Jumbo Records, Leeds.
Urusei Yatsura, Fake Fur single, The Fall, This Nation's Saving Grace
Fine City Sounds, Norwich
Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye, Diana And Marvin
Vinyl Vault, Holt
Various, Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mixtape #1, the Wonder Stuff, Never Loved Elvis
Truck Store, Oxford
A Very Short Introduction To: Dinosaurs; Ethnomusicology; the Gothic; Ice Age; Landscape; Happiness
Oxford University Press, Oxford
Terry Pratchett, Mort, Simon Sylvester, The Visitors
Postscript. You should read The Visitors, it was recommended to me by a friend who also agreed the Brass Fastening was an MC from Detroit in the 1880s. Seriously though, read The Visitors.