I've always loved record fairs, there is something about seeing so many pieces of vinyl in one place and all of those desperate guys furtively looking for their individual holy grail that appeals to the right saddoe in me. These days they don't seem to have the same importance as they used to what with ebay, Discogs and the like. But there is nothing like being in a huge hall with loads of other males and it is a predominantly male environment sadly, flicking through the boxes of records, the smell of foostie vinyl mixed in with sweat and patchouli wafting in your nostrils, the expectancy of the big find, you can't beat it.
It wasn't always this way, the first record fair that Stiff and I never made it to was a tragedy that should have had us vowing never, ever to try and attempt attending one ever again.
That fateful Sunday started off okay. It must have been autumn 1983/84 when I got a call from Stiff in the morning asking if I wanted to go to a record fair in Glasgow. Straight away I said yes but I had a distinct lack of funds, so decided that I would take and sell some stuff that I hadn't listened to in a while. First up was my double cassette copy of Sandinista, after all everybody kept telling me it was pish. Also there was that American Prayer album by Jim Morrison that really was shit, Indians on the highway and all that, poetry my arse.
So with both of these, a couple of other albums that I can't remember and all of my savings, five quid, I headed over to Stiff's bit, where Tank, the oldest W brother did some hard bartering with me and ended up with both the Morrison album and Clash cassettes for less than a fiver I think. Tank wasn't coming with us on this adventure only Bat and his mate Kyle.
We set out in Papa's Lada in high spirits with Stiff and I asking Bat to put on another tape as what was on wasn't the kind of thing that we were into but he was adamant that that was what was being played as he was driving and we could either like it or lump it. So we sat in the back feeling hard done to and watching the valley road.
All was going well until just after the Baillieston junction when papa John's Lada started acting up, so just after the turn off to Easterhouse Bat pulled into the hard shoulder where the car decided to expire.
"What do we do now?" Kyle asked
"You two (pointing at us), stay here" Bat said, "Kyle and I will go for help".
Fair enough we thought and off they went.
The full enormity of the situation didn't hit us until about twenty minutes later when the tape finished and I said to Stiff, "For fuck's sake change that tape, there is only so much Leonard Cohen you can listen to!".
Stiff went to change the tape, turned round with a kind of hapless look on his coupon and said " there only is the one tape"
You have got to be fucking jokin!'" I exclaimed
"Nope" he replied.
" You mean to say that we are stranded on the M8, on the outskirts of Easterhoose, with one fucking tape, with Bob, bastarding Dylan on one side and Leonard fucking Cohen on the other?"
" 'fraid so"
"Jesus fucking christ, they better get help quick"
Two hours later Bat and Kyle returned.
We waited a further hour for the AA and after they took us back to the depot we spent another hour waiting on them repairing the clutch cable and then we returned home. Not the best Sunday I have ever spent in my life but one which familiarised me with some of the best and it must be said some really rank songs by Leonard Cohen and also Blood On The Tracks.
Here is possibly my favourite track from Blood On The Tracks, which every time I hear it transports me back to sitting in the back seat of a red Lada Riva, broken down on the hard shoulder of the M8 outside Easterhouse.
Bob Dylan - If You See Her Say Hello