An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

What is Goth???

First of all, let me remind everyone that I’m giving away a free Cocteau Twins 7” single, the winner to be decided on the weekend of 3rd December 2011. See my last blog entry for details.

This last week or so I’ve been setting up my facebook profile under my alias (an alias I have dragged with me for 17 years now, thanks Mr Kingsley). I keep noticing little arguments and squabbles about the definition of goth, the culture and music. It’s so funny....nothing changes.

I have always admitted to being unashamed of being a goth. But more of a home and slippers goth nowadays. The definition has changed every year for the past nearly 30 years. The music, I think, can never be defined. Probably because the early goth music, the real stuff and not the 2nd, 3rd, 4th set of pretenders, was so diverse. The bands were more defined by the post punks that listened to their music. By the late 80’s goth music in the UK was becoming narrowed in it’s variety. Post punk was going massively out of style and became so “yesterday”. The tag “goth” became more of an insult than a description. The big bands the goths followed at the time, Sisters of Mercy, Mission, Cure, Fields of the Nephilim, All about Eve, Cocteau Twins and Dead can Dance, all hated the term, constantly making a point of refuting even the suggestion that they were goth bands.

By the early nineties, goth in the UK had become a very underground and inward looking scene. Goth had become more about a whole culture than just about music. It was about respecting death and darkness, getting the “meat” out of life, reading literature that dealt with culturally  uncomfortable issues, such as death, deformity, depression, exclusion. It became a feeling more than a simple definition.

Because of this, goth also became elitist. As the culture became inward looking and protective, the music became elitist and inward looking. The vast amount of UK goth bands in the early 90’s were just copycat bands of the big bands of the late eighties. Goth had started as a single step from punk and glam, with a do-it-yourself inventiveness and a daring to try anything in style and direction. It was varied to such a degree that even 30 years on, the older goths still argue over who is inclusive and who is not because of that variation in style. By the late eighties the style got narrowed into a stadium rock direction. The early nineties copycat bands hardened the rock edge to the point that punk and inventiveness had disappeared completely. As some goth bands blended into death metal , anyone wearing black clothes and eyeliner was a goth.

Goth’s downfall has always been it’s elitism. For me, what goth is is defined by a feeling. An attraction to dark romanticism, a real romantic, not just someone after a shag or trying to be better than someone else. Mixed with a spirit of invention and exploration, it is also a deep love and a need to understand and respect the darker and negative aspects of human life. As I define goth this way, I have met very few goths in my life, even though I have supposedly been surrounded by goths for a great portion of it. As I don’t know what is in a persons heart and desires, I cannot say that anyone is not a goth either.

Too many people spend too much time, deciding who around them is goth and who isn’t. Which for me shows a lack of love and respect and adds to the elitist element that has become all too common in the modern goth culture. If you wish to define yourself as a goth then that is part of your relationship with yourself and your own definition of it.

As for the music, to really get an experts definition, the best person on the planet is a journalist called Mick Mercer. The best person to have heard and seen it all and documented every bit of it.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Competition Time!!!

Even with the best database or tracking spreadsheet, I should imagine all of us accidentally buy a release that we find we already have. This happens too often to me. I’m just not careful and thorough enough at times and don’t realise my mistake until the point I excitedly unpack the delivery and add it to my collection...

DOH!!!....I have that already, f..ff...fff...forty two and half!!

Sometimes this is good. It gives me a chance to compare the two releases and on occasion find out that there is a slight difference in matrix, or a code, or a small piece of text. Which then adds as another piece of the vast puzzle of release versions and variations.

Occasionally though the releases are exactly the same. But this can be good in this case. As you, good reader, have a chance at a freebie. In the spirit of respect to all you collectors and those who appreciate the gems of 4AD. I am willing to give away this weeks’ dumbass duplication to an appreciative reader. Postage included.

This weeks spectacular cock up, is in the shape of a Cocteau Twins, Italian release of Pearly Dewdrops Drops 7” vinyl single on Virgin Records from 1984.

I have pondered for a while how best to do this in order to minimise some greedy git trying to get it, just to sell it on ebay. Well firstly, it isn’t in mint condition, but then when it’s for free I hope a collector would just appreciate owning a copy. Secondly, I would love to know why you would like this in your collection. Hopefully that will put off, or at least make it a little more obvious, those of you who are genuine and against some arse that wants to make an easy cash in.

Out of the genuine looking requests I will pick out a lucky winner at random.

To apply, send an email to me using my name (all one word) at Let me know why you would like this release for your collection and how you define your collection. I have no interest in anyone’s email address and will not be using your email address for anything other than informing you of your success. I will certainly not be passing your email address on to anyone else and will not use it for any mailings etc (just to clear that up)

Get your email in by the 2nd December 2011 and I’ll randomly choose a winner that weekend.

Good luck all and I look forward to reading your responses

***Find me on Facebook***

Thursday, 3 November 2011


I’m sure I’m not on my own wondering where the time goes. Or wondering how I can find the time to do the things I want to do while not being a hermit, a bad husband and not being completely anti-social.

I work full time and sleep. So out of the normal day, I’ve lost 16 hours straight away. Out of the remaining time I need to eat, exercise, walk and feed the dog, groom myself, smoke, do home chores, shopping etc etc. The time that is left is mine then to split between my life priorities. These are
Spending time with my wife (outside of the above tasks)
The 4AD project
Other music
Going “out”

The Playstation currently gets the lowest priority, which is annoying as I do like to play. But Playstation time is very selfish, especially as my long suffering wife, as most level headed wives, doesn’t go for the first person shoot em up war games. So the best use of this spare time is killing two birds with one stone, watching a movie with my wife.

This leaves my 4AD project with about an hour a day if I’m lucky. These blog entries can take me all week to write up, correct and post. Which takes time away from looking for collection pieces, keeping up to date on a handful of blogs and facebook, emails, looking after the Discogs data, and planning future blog possibilities. Most of the blog work I do is done at work. I go into work an hour early and work on my 4AD project stuff before I start work. This time is precious and usually quiet, not always though. But just to compose an email would in theory only take five minutes, but of course it never does, so I’m usually lucky to get my Discogs inbox cleared, send out an email, check one or two forums and that’s the morning gone.

I need a secretary.

This isn’t just a load of excuses. I bet many of you have the same issues. At least I’m fed (sometimes too much), warm, working and have a loving wife and a stupid dog. 

So to recent purchases :

Pixies - Here comes your man - UK Cd single
Pixies - Bossanova - Czech cassette album
Ultra Vivid Scene - Special one - US Cd Single
Cocteau Twins - 4AD Catalog sampler - 1 sided promo cassette