I don’t get out very often. I used to. For 20 years I’d play my records in pubs and nightclubs, before bands, after bands, in coffee shops, and converted fish markets, I even got payed to play at the top of a multi storey car park. It was at least once a week. I’d invent names for my nights and rent out a space. Just so I could play my records. A Monday, Thursday, Wednesday, the week ends, and afternoons. For money, drinks, hugs, hateful stares, I didn’t care.

But not any more. Not since the darkness came. The black dog. The fog. The anxiety that drains my body of anything positive. Before that, I loved it. I didn’t give a flying fuck. I’d play my records in a genre hopping spasm, getting higher and higher with the music, and NO, I DON’T DO REQUESTS. It was my oxygen. My world. My thing I did. Unaware. Living. But later I found out, that according to my ex, I was the most hated man in town (especially by her). I thought I was a nice guy who just got excited when he was playing records. I’d turn people on. Tune them in. Help them drop out. What the fuck did I know. I needed to play those records. I had to play those records. I was safe behind there. A barrier of decks and tables. Being behind them meant I wasn’t out there. Out there – with them. I didn’t feel or think I was better than them. I just didn’t fit in out there. In here I was safe. With my friends. My best friends. Who just happened to be 2mm thick pieces of black plastic.

An album is 12 inches in diameter. Run at 33 RPM it can hold around 26 minutes of sound on each side. A 7 inch. A 45. A single. When run at 45 RPM obviously travels faster than a 33 RPM. That’s more waveform definition on it’s surface. To the layman it means more bumps and grooves, which results in a better audio quality. And a 12 inch run at 45 RMP mastered with the correct skill and high manufacturing standards can sound even better.  Choo choo. Sleeve art. How I remember a record, I can’t remember the song name but the artwork, it’s in there. My memory sucks. That cover and that side. That’s where I will find it. The next track. The one that goes right after this one. Or doesn’t. But that ones next. Well, it’s the one I want to hear next.

Every few years – I put myself behind those spinning slabs of black candy. Enduring weeks of panic – as the date gets closer – as the realisation of what I’m going to do again hits me in waves. Anxiety is exhausting, without moving you feel you have ran away from a 100 lions. The primordial flight or fight. Sweat. Knots in my stomach. The fear. The chokes. As I pick out vinyl from an ever shrinking collection. Left overs. The others sold too cheaply on line. Not to pay for the treats I thought I’d deserve by now. Shit I’m nearly fifty. But to pay the shortfall in my rent, or some other bill to keep my head just above the flood. To stop me sinking. It surrounds me. Vinyl. My surrogate family. Fills the cracks in my life. Well the surface of some of the holes that mark my existence. the pockmarked acne scars of surviving. It’s a thin black plastic veneer.

And why? Is it all in the vain hope of being liked. Wanted. Appreciated. Or just to feel like I am really here. Who would know if I wasn’t.

Weeks of dread for a few hours pleasure.

I mean, what better way than to spend an afternoon, or evening? Playing your own vinyl collection to an appreciative audience. Creating a small crack in the triple glazed window that separates me from happiness. It lets the sun shine through. Illuminating the darkness. One record at a time.

Who reads this blog. It is just me talking to myself. Again. Here he is. My own worst critic. My worst enemy. I’m my own nemesis. I’m definitely my most hated man in town.

I hope I enjoy the next 4 hours more than you do . . .

From Manchester With Love
  1. Up The Junction (B7) by Manfred Mann
  2. The Loner by Milton Hunter Orchestra
  3. October Country by Michael McGinnis
  4. Sea by Wayne Canney / Tiger Rose
  5. Strange Change by Jerry Scott
  6. What Am I Doing Here? by Jim Spencer
  7. Good Day by Jonathan Jeremiah
  8. What Is Love by Guts
  9. L.O.V.E. And You & I by Jazzanova
  10. Agradezco by Fémina
  11. Summer Madness [Mellow -8 Pitch] by Kool & The Gang
  12. Walking In The Rain (Original Mix) [Mellow -6 Pitch] by Flash And The Pan
  13. Clouds Across The Moon (Solar Horizon Mix) by RAH Band
  14. Never Look Back by Pat
  15. Hoo Doo Love by The Rowans
  16. 10 by Paris Holley
  17. Bittersweet by Animal Nightlife

From Manchester With Love
  1. Fire Fire by Bella Boo
  2. Neuilly (Lever Du Soleil) by Cléa Vincent
  3. La Femme À La Peau Bleue by Vendredi Sur Mer
  4. Hanoï Café by Bleu Toucan
  5. Tropical Garden by Manu Dibango
  6. On Retinae (East Version) by Dip In The Pool
  7. Floral Place by Dreamcast
  8. Honeycomb by Kadhja Bonet
  9. Beaches by Nanna.B
  10. Bébé Reggae by Babeth
  11. She’s Lost Control by Grace Jones
  12. Paresseuse Dub [Pitch +2] by Caroline Loeb
  13. Vapor by Vapor Barato
  14. Kukuriku by Arco Iris
  15. Letania by Hilario Camacho
  16. Êmoriô by Fafá De Belém
  17. Disco Is by Shintaro Sakamoto

From Manchester With Love
  1. Reggae On Sunset (Edit) by Dhaima
  2. Si Ma Chanson Pouvait by Valerie Lagrange
  3. We’re All Free by Yumi Matsutōya
  4. Streetwalker by Jan Akkerman
  5. T.V. Scene by Linda Di Franco
  6. Les Hommes Heureux by Nicole Rieu
  7. Terra Mágica by Lena d’ Água
  8. Latino Chrome by Jim Morrison with music By The Doors
  9. Hoop Dancer by Bruce Cockburn
  10. Capsule (Hello People A Hundred Years From Now) by Michael Nesmith
  11. Abandoned Buick by Charles Watson
  12. Exception To The Rule by Mocky
  13. Embarcadero by Toro Y Moi
  14. Red.23 by Conner Youngblood
  15. Lone Ranger by Matt Duncan
  16. Lost In Rasa by Dr. Robert
  17. Fortunate Fool by Wyllowe

From Manchester With Love
  1. Tsunami by The Rugged Nuggets
  2. My God Has A Telephone by The Flying Stars of Brooklyn, NY
  3. My Dream by The Harvey Averne Dozen
  4. Oh Honey by Delegation
  5. Caballo Salvaje [Pitch -5] by Unidades
  6. Running The Mardi Gras by Boco
  7. Nevermore by Jerry Townes
  8. Gone, Is The Laughter Of You by L.C. Grier
  9. Morning In America by Durand Jones & The Indications
  10. Lait De Coco (Vocal) by Maya
  11. Pouki Tou Sa (Carole) by Tanya Saint-Val
  12. I Gotta Feel Something by Alex Beste
  13. Heute Ist Nicht Sonst by Piet Klocke
  14. Zufall by Cosa Rosa
  15. Prima O Poi by Loredana Bertè
  16. Jealousy by Vicki Sue Robinson
  17. Who Is She And What Is She To You by Madelaine
  18. Peace Begins Within by Zara Mcfarlane

Music Is Love

paul hillery logo