Saturday, Nov 17, 2018 - Sunday, Nov 18, 2018
The 50th Mega Vinyl & CD Fair
Jaarbeurs Utrecht Netherlands
Vinyl, to: vb. A neologism that describes the process of immersing yourself in an antique playback format, often to the point of obsession - i.e. I’m going to vinyl at Utrecht, I may be gone a long time. Or: I vinyled so hard that my bank balance has gone up the wazoo. The end result of vinyling is a record collection, which is defined as a bad idea (hoarding, duplicating, upgrading) often turned into a good idea (a saleable archive).If you’re reading this, you’ve gone down the rabbit hole like the rest of us. What is record collecting? Is it a doomed yet psychologically powerful wish to recapture that first thrill of adolescent recognition or is it a quite understandable impulse to preserve and enjoy totemic artefacts from the first - perhaps the only - great age of a truly mass art form, a mass youth culture? Fingering a particularly juicy 45 by the Stooges, Sweet or Sylvester, you could be forgiven for answering: fuck it, let’s boogie!But, you know, you’re here and so are we so, to quote Double Dee and Steinski, what does it all mean? Are you looking for - to take a few possibles - Kate Bush picture discs, early 80s Japanese synth on the Vanity label, European Led Zeppelin 45’s (because of course they did not deign to release singles in the UK), or vastly overpriced and not so good druggy LPs from the psychedelic fatso’s stall (Rainbow Ffolly, we salute you)? Or are you just drifting, browsing, going where the mood and the vinyl takes you?That’s where Utrecht scores. Now that you can find anything you want and buy at the click of a mouse - eBay, Discogs etc - the mystery has been taken out of record buying. The drift, the random encounter was always a part of the experience: finding shops where the owner did NOT want to sell you anything - that dreaded phrase: ‘what are you looking for’; hunting through bins, fingers thick with dust and grot; orienting through cities by record shop and record shop: something of that experience is reproduced in the chaos of the Jaarbeurs.There is still something of the drift in the Record and CD Fair. Being systematic is a laudable but impossible goal. It’s just overwhelming, so you have to go where your body and your mind takes you. Each stall has its own character: some are utilitarian, others minimally curated; some are ruthlessly professional - obnoxious in the old school style - while others are an extension of life and art: the pranksters who will engage you in impassioned arguments about so and so and this and that while selling you a Simon Vinkenoog spoken world album. You go out looking for things and then you come back with something different. Utrecht is terrific for European only singles releases - often very different from those in the US and the UK, and with pictures sleeves - and for prime Nederbeat. The haul has included the two great N.V Groep ’65 singles, Q’65’s terrific Revolution, and the Outsiders’ CQ. Then there are the surprises: a mint copy of Nolan Strong and the Diablos The Wind, an EX copy of one of Joe Meek’s last productions, the bizarre Singing the Blues by Jason Eddie and the Centremen. This is the way, step inside. Much human life is here. Almost all of us are bound by one thing: a love, indeed an obsession with music. There is a kind of democracy in this. What taste is better or worse? It just doesn’t matter. That’s not a bad place to start. Those who are about to vinyl, we salute you.