Enjoyed the silence? Well if not, I apologize. I’ve been very distracted of late and not felt the urge to do any writing in my spare time – be it blog posts or novels/novellas. I’ve run out of Froggy Flips videos to watch on YouTube and moved on the Cincinnati Picker, but now the FIFA World Cup is taking up a lot of my time. Excuses excuses.

As you can probably guess, I’m back here today to talk about my continued love affair with those Basildon boys Depeche Mode. If you’ve been following me for a while, you might recall that I did a couple of long-read posts about my on-and-off-and-on-again relationship with the band here: Depeche Mode and me (Part 1) and here: Part 2. I guess then I had an ‘off’ (I didn’t even review their 2017 album Spirit for instance – even though I really liked it). Now surprise surprise it’s back on.

That’s in no small part down to the death of founding member Andy Fletcher, the announcement of a world tour next year and a new album Momento Mori in March. But it’s also thanks to a trip back to North Wales and a visit to an old friend who I haven’t seen for some time who reignited the record collector in me. I think I have spoken before about how I sold some of my crown jewels from my Depeche Mode collection about 20 years ago and have kind of regretted it ever since.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself as usual. Let me describe the visit and the aftermath before I plunge into some more gushy fan stuff. By the way I toyed with the title ‘adventures in record collecting’ for this set of posts, so you can probably guess where this is headed.

So, North Wales. A rare visit to see my folks and as well as Siggy, I took with me two gifts for my friends – a limited edition CD box set version of Everything Must Go by The Manic Street Preachers and a rare copy of a 7″ single with fold-out poster by Prince of If I was Your Girlfriend. I’d been having a clear out of old music and pondering whether to do some eBay auctions (perhaps spurred on by Froggy Flips). The Prince single was for Maff an old school friend who I hadn’t seen in years but who I knew was a big Prince fan and would appreciate the disc.

Round at his house, we found him washing vinyl in his kitchen sink. It’s a regular occurrence apparently and it was quite apparent that he has lost none of his enthusiasm for record collecting. An enthusiasm he’s had for years and that frankly was infectious. With the advent of Spotify, I thought my days of feeling a thrill from possessing a musical object were behind me. But then he showed me his copy of the original release of the legendary Depeche Mode album Violator and told me about some other Depeche Mode he had in his collection.

I bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t afford tickets to the recently announced tour and a felt the reignition of a little frisson of regret over letting go of some of my precious objects all that time ago. One thing, my grail you might say, was a Japanese import CD of Violator with a second disc of remixes that came in a fat CD case same as the live album 101. The memory of this and the laser-etched version of the ‘Quad’ final mix ‘Enjoy the Silence’ 12″ weighed heavily on my conscience. What beautiful objects they had been. I felt like Gollum craving his precious.

But the solution was at hand. The key catalyst really, the enabler you might say, was Maff telling me about the Discogs app. Here was a way for me to find out the value of my collection and be able to tell how much to ask for on eBay for items I didn’t cherish, but also a way of connecting to record shops and private individuals like Maff who had these goodies to sell. The plan was to bank roll the reconstruction of my gappy collection by selling some other stuff on eBay.

So home I went. It took me about three days on and off to scan all the bar codes or search for titles of all the CDs and vinyl in my collection. There were some surprises. In particular two big surprises – my copy of the soundtrack for Beetlejuice on vinyl and a James live CD called One Man Clapping were both worth quite a bit of money apparently. So onto eBay they went. In fact a third item – Michael Jackson’s single Bad on red vinyl 12″ sold within quarter of an hour of being posted. Things were looking up.

I started exploring Discogs sellers and low and behold if The Left Legged Pineapple in Loughborough wasn’t still trading online. This is the shop were I bought most of my Depeche Mode 12″s back in the late 80s / early 90s, and in fact where I bought the Japanese Violator CD. And moreover, there in the listings of Depeche Mode stuff for sale was a sealed (sealed!!!) copy of the very same Japanese Violator CD. I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour and when I die I expect to find Him laughing. Right? Right.

More tomorrow 🙂