Late Night Stargazing

When I lived in Cardiff, I spent a good chunk of my twenty years there living in the Roath and Cathays areas. My Sunday mornings would often be spent wandering up to Albany Road, and trawling through the Reduced to Clear section in the now defunct Woolworths.

There were other records stores in the area, but none that opened on a Sunday; there was a Cash Converter across the road, which had a massive collection of CDs, mostly crappy magazine free giveaways, which, if you went there at the right time (namely a week or two into term, when the students had decided to sell their CDs for booze, just before Christmas, when the students had sold what was left of their CD collection for more booze and possibly a Christmas present or two, or just after Christmas, when students had sold ill-judged received presents for…oh, you get the picture) then you could monopolise on their “10 CDs for £10” deal.

Neither Woolworths or Cash Converters were the most creditable place to buy records from; those awards go to D’Vinyl Records, which was just around the corner on Death Junction and one which to this day I have no idea what it was called other than “Record Shop”. I’m not going to go into this now, as new friend to Dubious Taste, The Robster, describes it perfectly here.

I can only corroborate Robster’s description of it as being 100% accurate, and it was there that I would make my pilgrimage on a Saturday afternoon.

But Sunday’s were different, for on Sunday’s Woolworths was pretty much the only shop that was open.

One particular Sunday, I stumbled across a compilation CD, with an awful name and an awful sleeve. It was called “Mad For It”, so I can probably place this as being in the mid-90s. The sleeve had a picture of a herd of cows on it, which made me wonder if this contained some long-lost Inspirals tune. Obviously, I bought it.

It didn’t have anything even vaguely Inspiral-ish about it, needless to say.

What it did have, though, was two CDs. Released on Telstar records- who I had assumed had died in the 1970s, along with Ronco products – the first CD was crammed with your standard Britpop-y types: there’s Ash, there’s Sleeper, there’s Suede, whilst the second CD was filled with more “dancier” numbers: your Prodigy, your Leftfield, your Underworld etc etc.

This was a time when I was still resistant to dance music, obstinately refusing to listen to it due to the absence of guitars, but clearly something had piqued my interest. In fact, I think I must have bought this because I was intrigued by some of the more obscure – to me – tracks on the dance CD. And when I listened to it back in my bedroom, it seemed to me that it got darker and more interesting the further it went on.

One of those darker songs came on my iPod as I was travelling home from a very enjoyable evening over at the closing night of Dalston’s Street Feast tonight with my good buddies Hel, Neil and Ian, where I have drunk and eaten quite a lot (food highlight: the arepas, a Venezualan cornbread stuffed with beef and a whole lot of other yumminess; drinking highlight: tequila shots washed down with a chilli vinegar, which now I write this, sounds revolting, but whoa! did they work! All of them).

Anyway, this is the tune, which I think is the first instrumental I’ve ever posted here:


Nightmares On Wax – Nights Interlude

More soon.

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6 thoughts on “Late Night Stargazing”

  1. I remember ‘Mad For It’ well, it was one of a host of similar britpop/indie dance TV compilations released at the time, which were very popular with the present buying older generation. I also remember ‘Nights Interlude’ very well, an excellent tune.
    (Are you telling me that there’s actually a place in Cardiff called Death Junction? Bloody hell!)

    1. It was known as Death Junction due to the large amounts of car crashes and pedestrians being run over there. You won’t find it referred to as such on Google Maps!

    2. Similarly, when I first moved to That London, I got a taxi up to a bar some friends of mine were DJ’ing at. I mentioned to the driver I was “new in town” and he proceeded to give me a commentary on where we were. Essentially, this was a dual carriageway with a bridge over it, which he described as “Suicide Bridge”. I asked him why it was called that, obviously anticipating the answer. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the reply: “It is called that because if the fall doesn’t kill them, then the car that runs them over when they land will”. Good times.

      1. There is a small Lane in Warwick Parish Bermuda that is genuinely called ‘Crack Pipe Lane’. It’s very pleasant as it happens. Ironically around the corner is a street called ‘heavens gate’ which is gang central.

  2. My brother and I, when we were kids, spent a very happy hour once finding rude sounding place names on a map, in the same way you lookup rude words in a dictionary when you’re about 8. My favourite was a place called Pidley Knob.

  3. Having started this particular ball rolling, I should probably mention the idyllic grass track that separates two fields in our little village. It has no name, but when a historic map of the area came my way a couple of years back, I discovered that in centuries past it was known as Dead Man’s Lane. Honestly, you couldn’t find a nicer spot.

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