As a skint teenager, trying to sneak out of the house with a bag of vinyl that I considered to be surplus to requirements tucked under my arm and which I intended to sell, I encountered my Dad, who gave me some advice.
I’ve passed on this advice before on these pages, but it was a long time ago, so I don’t think there’s any harm in my sharing it again.
“Don’t sell your records,” he said, “you’ll regret it.”
Of course, skint teenager who thought he knew best that I was, I took absolutely no notice whatsoever, went into town and sold them.
Aand then, about three weeks later, went back into town and bought most of them back again, having realised he was totally right.
You’d think I’d have learned a valuable lesson that day, right? Wrong.
Fast forward ten years or so. It is the summer of 1996, as Bryan Adams dyslexically almost said, I’m living in Cardiff, and I want to go to the pub and watch England playing in Euro ’96. (Fear not, my Scottish friends, I wasn’t going to watch that game, so I shan’t be mentioning it.)
No, I was going to watch England play Spain in the quarter finals (that’s the knock-out stage, after Scotland had already gone home). Problem was, I was broke.
So I looked around the house I shared with my then-girlfriend, trying to find something which was definitely mine that I could flog off for enough money to buy a couple of pints and a packet of fags. And of course, pretty much the only thing I owned was a load of vinyl. So I picked out a few that I thought might be worth a couple of quid, and decided to take one along which in my opinion might be a little bit more valuable.
By the time I got to Kelly’s Records, upstairs in Cardiff’s Indoor Market, and got the attention of one of the blokes who worked there, I had, of course, completely forgotten about the inclusion the more valuable one, and took £15.00 for the lot.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when, with money burning a hole in my pocket again, I had gone back to Kelly’s Records to spend what I hoped to be a happy and productive afternoon flicking through their racks, that I realised my mistake. And I only realised then because they had it on display, with a price tag of £65.00 on it.
The record in question was The Pretenders’ “The Singles”, a Greatest Hits compilation (of course). And the reason it was priced at £65.00 was that it had been signed by Chrissie Hynde.
I should stress that, just as I’ve never met The Bluebells who had signed my recently purchased copy of their “Sisters” album I featured last week, so have I also never met Chrissie Hynde. I’d picked this up on a shopping expedition down to That London a few years earlier with a mate from Sixth Form; Chrissie had clearly been in a day or so beforehand for a signing session, and they hadn’t managed to shift them all. I was happy to help.
As with many compilation albums I bought when I was a kid, I used it as a guide as to which (proper) album I would buy next. After one listen, this was a no-brainer, and my next purchase – which I recently found was no longer amongst my vinyl collection and so I got myself a replacement copy – was their 1984 release “Learning to Crawl”.
I mention all of this today, because The Pretenders were the opening act on The Other Stage at Glastonbury yesterday. This is becoming a tradition (it’s probably been the case for a long time, but I only noticed it recently), where a well established and much-loved act kicks proceedings off. Last year, it was James, the year before, The Charlatans.
And this year, that honour fell to The Pretenders; highlights were on BBC4 last night, and Chrissie seemed in pretty good form.
So, here’s one of my favourite tunes from that album, the opening track, and it’s an absolute barn-stormer: