The Frankie Goes To Hollywood tour program I purchased for 50p in late August sold, via eBay, on 3rd September for the handsome sum of £10. This not only gave me the inspiration for the name of this blog, but also £9.50 stake money to invest in more records.
At this stage I was still a little unclear about how I would run the project. I was excited and busy thinking of ideas, but also very aware that shiny new projects can seem like a good idea in the first flushes, only to soon turn into a pain in the arse if not done correctly. I made sure I remembered to try to identify potential problems at the same time as thinking of ways in which to make this a manageable exercise. I’m a busy bloke, you see, so this isn’t something I can commit 40 hours a week to, no matter how much fun I may be having.
Having said all that, a couple of basic principles seemed to hold firm no matter how critically I looked at things: I needed to find good records at bargain prices, and I needed to sell those records for more than I had paid for them.
I was still formulating ways in which I could effectively sell the records (and more on that soon), but there was nothing to stop me from dealing with the first part, the fun part, and as I had £9.50 of clear profit to blow, there was no reason not to go mooching.
Over the course of the next couple of days, between 1st and 5th September, I picked up 14 records in charity shops and junk shops. Here’s what I got.
Various – Funny Girl OST, 1968 LP, CBS, 70044
Burt Bacharach – Reach Out, 1967 LP, A&M, AMLS 908
Kremmen The Movie – Soundtrack, 1980 LP, EMI, EMC 3342
Transvision Vamp – Velveteen, 1989 LP, MCA, MCG 6050
Transvision Vamp – Pop Art, 1988 LP, MCA, MCF 3421
Lene Lovich – Say When, 1979 7”, Stiff, BUY 46
Sly Fox – Let’s Go All The Way, 1985 12”, Capitol, 12CL 403
Full Metal Jacket OST, 1987 LP, Warners, 925 613-1
Pointer Sisters – Happiness, 1978 12”, red vinyl, Planet, K 12350
David Crosby – Hero, 1993 7”, Atlantic, A 7360
Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye – Diana & Marvin, 1973 LP, Motown, STMS 5001
The Wonder Stuff – Circlesquare, 1990 7”, Polydor, GONE 10/877 082-7
Les Troubadours Du Roi Baudouin – Missa Luba, 1958 LP, Phillips, BL 7592
The Tremeloes/Anita Harris – The Party Starter, 7” [19??], CBS Special Products, WB 735
The cheapest of these were the Transvision Vamp LPs, which were 20p each, and the most expensive was the Kenny Everett LP (Kremmen The Movie), which was £1.99. The rest were all picked up for somewhere between 25p and £1. I must admit that some of them were purchased whilst I was still in the delirious state of excitement I described in my introduction, and with hindsight I probably wouldn’t have bothered with the Sly Fox or Wonder Stuff singles. Nevertheless I reckon that for a first crack at this buying-and-selling malarkey I’d picked up some good stuff and, taken as a whole, the pile would certainly be worth more than the £9.50 I had spent. My hunch was that the Lene Lovich 7” and the Full Metal Jacket OST would probably cover my outlay, and that everything else would be a bonus. The pile could be worth somewhere in the neighbourhood of £40, given the right circumstances, or it could remain unsold and be worth minus £9.50. My next job was to look at the many ways in which I could find out which it was to be….
The value I placed on the records above was, of course, a personal opinion, and I might have been completely wrong in my estimation. Finding out would be the interesting part, I suppose. This notion of ‘value’ does, however, raise another of many potentially interesting things that I’m hoping this project allows me (and perhaps you) to think and talk about. It seems to me that context is key to the value (or otherwise) of each piece of vinyl I’ve picked up. In the context of a charity shop, or a junk shop bargain bin, they were worth very little financially. To end up where they did, they must also have been worth very little emotionally to the various people who put them there in the first place. At some point in the past, however, other people may have spent good money on these items and very much enjoyed having them about the place. Other than a dog-eared corner here and a mark on the surface of the vinyl there, each item remains pretty much unchanged, but it’s value has fluctuated considerably depending on who has been in possession of it. Now, I’m the one in possession…and I need to sell them on quickly before they try to make friends with me.