Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Buying the Plastic Ono Band and reeling

I remember when I first discovered the ‘Music and Video Exchange’ in Greenwich, to be honest it isn’t hard not to discover – it’s on the high street. Now if you’re a record obsessive like me – you’ll be able to recognise how important a place like that is. It doesn’t look much – all scruffy front and in need of a lick of paint or at least its windows need cleaning.

But it promises so much.

A shop filled with old records, new sounds , new experiences. I had arrived in 1989 , a mere youth. green and new to the workings of a south London I knew nothing about. However, my vinyl obsession was firmly in place, always scouring the record shops, second hand stores and cardboard boxes of market stall traders for those elusive sounds of the underground. And here was a shop full to the brim of them.

A sound explosion.

I would walk across the ‘heath on a Sunday, a lazy day, a recover day to spends hours in the company of fellow ‘anoraks’ carefully flicking through piles of records. Pausing over the covers, flipping them over in my hands and reading the track listings on the back.

I stumbled across, well I say stumbled – to be honest I had most likely looked at every single record in that store over the course of a year, a pristine copy of the John Lennon Plastic Ono record. A record full of anger and sadness. That and Pet Sounds – it was a summer of desolation. Believe me as I revelled in new found loves and guilt and loneliness within these London streets.

I remember putting the record on the revolving deck and placing the needle on it, on Love, and it all came swimming back to me how I stood alone and felt the hairs on my neck rise. It turns out Spector was hardly at any of the sessions for this album – but it’s him on piano on Love. Him and Lennon keeping it simple and heartfelt – obvious and honest. You know the Love song was passé man – but there’s honesty about that tune – as Lennon’s primal wailing gives way to singing. The whole album is a classic – not a word I choose lightly – you know I’m not making lists.

There’s a sense of accomplishment – of Lennon getting back on it – and I guess that’s how I felt on first listening to it. Coming out of an isolated summer to an autumn of something else. Lennon [along with Wilson] just helped me get right along.

Funny how people do that to you