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THE ACTION SUITS: Fun Flies (7″, Wiiija WIJ52, 1996)

The Action Suits - Fun Flies

I picked this record up from HMV shortly after its release date. Yes, HMV. There was, dear reader, once a time when HMV stocked not only vast swathes of vinyl, but in some stores, a whole load of interesting and obscure vinyl. I seem to remember that before they moved en masse to a centrally-distributed (and therefore, more financially efficient) stock base, each store left the success and stock choice of its singles department to somebody from that store’s staff. Normally, I think, this was whoever showed the most enthusiasm for such a task.

Whoever was running Reading HMV’s singles department at the time certainly seemed very enthusiastic. I would often visit the store precisely to dig through and select new and interesting independent releases. The store also regularly (and ingeniously) bundled up not-yet-sold 7″s into ‘buy this bundle of singles for two quid’ mystery packs: three singles encased in an opaque wrapper of HMV bags and sellotape. One of these mystery packs yielded this single along with, as far as I remember, an Acetone and a Movietone single. A pretty good success rate, there.

The Action Suits are interesting as they feature Peter Bagge on drums. Peter who? Why, Peter Bagge, the guy behind the legendarily misanthropic and brilliant comic book series Hate (and much more besides). Hate was the painfully-realistic retelling of life as a plaid-shirted slacker, finding his way through relationships, music and life. If you’re not yet aware of it, I urge you to get some Hate in your life.

I can’t remember when I last visited an HMV, but I know that it certainly wasn’t the richly rewarding experience of ‘the good old days’. Sometimes I really do wonder about the pursuit of commerce above all else, especially where music and art are concerned. I understand the need for businesses to make a profit, but it always seemed that the Reading HMV of yore at least explored ways of doing that whilst maintaining some elements of creative and exploratory stock choices.

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