An Antidote to Indifference Volume 12
Guest editor: Richard King
Cover art: Matt Sewell
The word ‘fanzine’ suggests a certain type of pathology, as if the act of publishing one’s monomaniacal interests might justify or legitimise them. This edition of An Antidote to Indifference explores how an obsessional love of music enriches life and absorbs time to such an extent that the listener is often defined by both their record shop purchases and the record shop’s location.
Brian Case describes the atmosphere of Dobell’s on the Charing Cross Road in the Sixties; while Bob Stanley recalls the education he received from loitering at Beano’s in Croydon. The physical properties of vinyl are evoked by Emma Warren who reimagines the white label pre-release 12” as a form of underground communication, and by Pete Paphides, who considers the significance and meaning of the B-side. In contrast, John Grindrod writes in self-deprecating opposition to the fetishisation of formats.
There is perhaps an inevitable breathlessness around the discussion of the resurgence of record shops and renewed interest in ‘vinyls’. One way of reacting to this new energy is to consider the extent to which shops at opposite ends of the country, such as Monorail in Glasgow and Drift in Totnes, and the enduring London hub of Rough Trade, are departure points and staging posts for such social-mediated enthusiasms.
As Matt Sewell’s drawings of record shop bags old and new demonstrate, record shops succeed or fail by their individuality, an individuality that is embraced and enhanced by their customers. Rob St John narrates the fascinating process at the heart of his Surface Tension project, during which the cloudiness of a river allows the water to ‘play’ notes, and we are reminded that music is alchemical, ours only to play, to listen to and to wonder
The above is merely a sample of the contributors and subjects covered in We Love Records. Ultimately vinyl and other formats, record shops and record bags are a physical aspect of the deeper truth that a life spent lost in music is a life well lived.
Original Rockers by Richard King is published by Faber & Faber and currently long listed for the Gordon Burn Prize 2015. You can buy a copy from the Caught by the River shop for the special price of £15
Richard is appearing at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival this Saturday.