When does a country become a giant second-hand record shop? When somebody like me goes back to England from Brazil, on holiday, with the sole intention of scouring every charity and junk shop for vinyl. OK, so I did some other stuff like see my mum (Bradford) and my brother (Twickenham) and a few mates up north and in London. But for three weeks flat I planned an assault on every possible city, town or village that might have a shop in it with a tatty cardboard box in the corner containing a few old records.
New vinyl is not for me. It’s easy and expensive. No, the joy is in the accidental discovery. Serendipity. Kissing a thousand toads to find that elusive princess. Fumbling through umpteen fusty boxes of James Last and John Denver in the dim hope that a glorious little gem may turn up. Something like a US import of Mister Magic by Grover Washington for 50 pence (yes, kiddies that really happened).
If you’re still reading this, you’ll probably wonder exactly how many records I managed to squeeze into my suitcases on the way home to sunny Porto Alegre from dreary Heathrow. Go on then, guess. Twenty? Fifty? No more than 50, surely. Well, how about 115? You see, a vinyl junkie needs a lot of fixes, man. Hang on a minute – the needle has just finished playing the last track on side one of The World of Blues Power (John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Savoy Brown et al). Now I’ll have to get up and lift that lovely diamond before it hits the label in the middle. But I’ll be back. Honest, guv!