Sunday, 13 September 2009

'This one goes out to the one I've left behind'

If you are one of the more sensitive members of the band REM, I'm suggesting you might want to look away now. For on Saturday, looking mournfully out at me from the racks of East Dulwich's premiere charity shop was not one, not two, not… look, basically just keep doing that till you get to five – five! – different REM albums.

If you visit enough charity shops for enough years, you can plot a sagging curve of Britain's former music passions, and when exactly we fell out of love with them.

A few years ago, you could have bet your kidneys on being able to go into any branch of Oxfam and finding at least two copies each of Wet Wet Wet's Popped In Souled Out or A New Flame by Simply Red (yes, I owned both of these albums, what is your point exactly?). Now, apparently, we're no longer tied to the 90s (early Travis reference for you, early Travis fans) because on Saturday I found two unloved copies of Urban Hymns by The Verve. If you'd told any of my friends in 1998 that within 12 years they'd be dumping that particular CD in a charity shop, they'd have choked on their This Life boxsets (This Life video boxsets also currently very big in the Charity Shop Chart Rundown).

What I'm wondering is this: if you're a pop combo past your popular prime, is it worse to see several different albums bearing the band name you spent ages excitably/inadvisably thinking of lying unloved in a charity shop, or several copies of the same album? In the first scenario, one person (presumably) really, really doesn't like you. In the second, you are more casually disliked by a larger group of people, and also that particular album is quite emphatically a dead loss.

If it makes you feel better, Stipey, I bought Dead Letter Office.


Audrey said...

Ah, if only I could find that Dulwich charity shop! All I get in the ones round by me are insanely overpriced Leo Sayer and Kris Kristofferson albums. I once had all REM's albums up to Out Of Time (after which I thought they got boring) but then sold them all for about a quid each when I moved to London and was penniless and needed to buy fags. Along with a million other CDs that I desperately wish I still had.

As for this This Life - I gave my video box sets to a charity shop in a fit of life-improvement and now keep fantasising about buying them all back - a day spent in bed watching the antics of Anna and marvelling at Miles' Frankenstinian fringe and their terrible 90s suits sounds like pure heaven!

Big Brother said...

I once co-authored an article for the Journal of Public Sector Employment Law (readership three, including the editor's mum) on the subject of the Retained Employment Model (REM) as an alternative to employees transferring to a new employer under the more convential Transfer of Undertaking - Protection of Employment (TUPE) regulations in public sector outsourcing deals. REM provides benefits in potentially maintaining staff morale and avoiding issues around a two-tier workforce.

I wanted to title the article "Retained Employment Model (REM) - Losing the religion of TUPE to create shiny happy people" - but they wouldn't let me...

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, the hours spent counting the number of copies of the Da Vinci Code in the second-hand section of many, many bookshops I offer gladly up and would not want back.

Miss Jones said...

Heh. Let's have a competition to see how quickly we can find an abandoned copy of The Lost Symbol. A week?