A brief meditation on the inherent problems in trying to order records, that feature more than one artist, on the shelf – such as in this example, which I’ve just spent ten minutes trying to find. What’s the best way to go, assuming an alphabetical ordering of records is the baseline requirement?
- Arrange in order of the first-named artist quoted on the sleeve?
- Arrange in order of the first-named artist to appear on the A side of the record?
- Arrange in order of the label name for the record?
- Arrange in order of the title of the record?
I use method number four as a rule, but the obvious problem with that is that not all multi-artist records have titles. So in those instances I use method number one as a backup. In the case of this particular record, however, I had decided at some point in the past that the title was ‘Audacious Two’ – seemingly because that was the largest text on the cover. So I’ve exposed a weakness in my system; a flaw: I was fully expecting this to be shelved under G for Gag and it took some time for me to realise otherwise. What to do, to counteract this kind of thing happening in the future?
- Give up on any kind of ordering system, and just make my shelves a free-for-all?
- Use another system, such as sleeve colour, date purchased, or something else?
- Throw all of my records away?
On reflection and after careful consideration, I can tell you with a calm sense of urgency that none of these three suggestions…
- Will ever happen.
So I’m stuck with my system and all of its wonderful foibles.
Anyway. I’ll never tire of records and fanzines with this kind of look – the single-colour printing and layouts made up of typewritten text and pasted-in imagery drawn from all kinds of sources (clip art, old comics and magazines, photographs, drawings). I remember that when I bought this flexi through the mail from the chap in Bedford who released it, I was immediately impressed with the idea of packaging a fanzine around a record. Not that it was a particularly original or devastatingly new idea, but it allows in this case, where the fanzine is in 7″-sleeve-sized format, for ease of shelving amongst other records. Despite the aforementioned problems that this may create.
The flexi is great, a clear sliver of plastic containing music from Gag, who were brilliant in a Captain Beefheart-gone-indie-pop kind of way. The fanzine is a decent read, too – stuff on Henry Rollins, bits about Gag and Able Mesh, some personal ‘slice of life’ bits of writing and a few reviews. I always like reading reviews in old fanzines as they remind me of all of the links and networks that used to exist. In this case, the reviews include opinions on a marvellous old fanzine called The Melody Haunts My Reverie and the first release on Imperial Recordings, whose releases I’m sure I’ll randomly come to on here at some point. There is much to say about that label and its releases, when I get to it.