overground scene

A day in Brighton’s record fair

Today (Sunday, February the 16th) was the third time I attended a record fair in Brighton. The event took place at the Brighton Center, a huge building at Brighton seafront that accommodates all kinds of cultural/commercial events. The event started at 8:30. The early entry fee was a bit higher than the late entry fee (£5 before 9:30 and £2 after). I arrived around 13:00 so I missed the slaughter among those record collectors who derive their identity from their record collection. Luckily those types are less likely to be interested in the kind of music I like so I was not too worried about missing out on amazing finds.

The entry fee was not unreasonable but, nevertheless, has some weird implications. By charging people to attend an event as this one, the meaning of the event is effectively constructed as a service provided to record-buyers who are given the opportunity to buy records, rather than an opportunity provided to a bunch of record-merchants to sell their stuff. In other words, the fee signifies that as a record buyer you should feel lucky.  Anyway, I guess both things are valid and as I said the fee was not unreasonable. The music coming from the speakers on my arrival was African. There were not too many people so it did not usually require waiting for one to check out their preferred section. On my arrival and after paying the £2 fee I decided to start my quest by genre. This means that I decided to go from merchant to merchant focusing initially on the genres in which I am more interested. Thus, the record-hunt started with heavy metal and punk.  Few merchants were specialised in a specific genre, one was specialised in rap-hip hop, another in punk and hardcore, and a couple were specialised in funk. Most merchants offered records in a variety of genres. As expected, metal records were thin on the ground. Wherever there was a heavy metal category it contained mainly lame hard rock and glam metal records from the eighties. This is not surprising given that metal was a phenomenon of the 80s, a period where dreadful bands sold lots of albums to masses which were doomed to get rid of these records once they grew a bit older and the fad was over. Now all these rejected records by bands like Motley Crue, Poison, Krokus, Def Leppard, and so on, are doomed to haunt the “on sale” sections of record stores around the world.

The punk sections were a bit more interesting, albeit sad reminders of the fact that US and European punk never reached England. An exception to the trend was the guy who specialised in punk and had goodies from around the world who also used to run a cool local record shop at Kensington Gardens, in the North Laine. 51PfthVgR-LEarly on I was lucky to find Electric Frankenstein‘s Don’t touch me I’m electric (Twenty Stone Blatt records, blue vinyl) there for only £5. This was my only purchase during that initial phase.

The music coming from the speakers eventually changed from African to psychedelic rock. After I finished my search based on genre, I went back to the start and begun the tedious process of looking through the “on sale” sections. Through this process which caused ankylosis on my right hand I got Killing Joke‘s Revelations album for £4. Killing_Joke_-_Revelations-coverA bit disappointed from the lack of good records I decided to buy a record from the NWOBHM band Tygers of Pan Tang. I never listened properly to this band, and those songs that I had listened off their first couple of albums I thought were cool but nothing special. However, I had never listened to an entire album by them. I found their fourth album The cage for half a pound so I bought it. A guy next to me bought a bunch of records (more than 10) from the half pound section.

As time went by, record sellers started reducing the prices of the records. Around 15:00 and when the event was about to finish I happened to be going though a bunch of heavy metal records which I thought were a bit pricey. At that point the guy who was selling them announced that all records go at half price. I bought two albums I always thought were brilliant but I never owned in any form, Judas Priest‘s Sin after sin for £4 and Helloween‘s Pink bubbles go ape for another £4. Sin after sin has always had a magical influence on me, as I have always been enchanted by its cover and songs like “Dissident aggressor”, “Here come the tears” and “Raw deal” always gave me an uneasy feeling of melancholy. Pink bubles has some of my all time favorite Helloween songs, like “The chance” , “Someone’s crying” (establishing Grapow as a worthy replacement of Hansen) and “Number one“.

As I am writing this post I am listening to Revelations, an album I have never heard before, and I have to say that it sounds pretty awesome. Electric Frankenstein is a band I love and Don’t touch me I’m electric was amazing, as expected. I also listened to Sin after sin twice and got chills down my spine. The quality of early Judas Priest records is unprecedented. I only heard side A of the Tygers of Pan Tang record and I’d rather have my little toe repeatedly hit against sharp corners than listen to the other side.


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