This is the series where I try to honour my recently passed best friend Llŷr by posting songs which remind me of him.
One of the shared passions Llŷr and I both had – and, I suspect many of you have too – was losing a good few hours browsing through the racks in a record store, digging out some absolute gems to buy and bring back home.
When we shared the flat of filth and, latterly, the house of no housework in the Cathays area of Cardiff, we were fortunate to have two second hand record shops within walking distance.
One was on a side road off of Albany Road; it had no name as far as I ever managed to ascertain, but it had a box of cheap, crappy vinyl left outside to entice the likes of us in.
The other was Kellys Records, located on what was commonly referred to as Death Junction because of the number of car crashes that happened there, the apex where Mackintosh Place met Albany Road met City Road met Richmond Road met Crwys Road.
We would visit there often, me losing interest long before Llŷr ever did, if I’m honest.
And he was much better at truffling out the pearlers than I was; I lost count of the amount of times he would march triumphantly through the living room door, bag of vinyl tucked under his arm, turning on the turntable and slipping his first purchase onto the deck before he’d even taken his coat off.
Today’s record is one such find.
“Jez, you have to hear this!,” he said as he burst into the living room, 12″ removed from carrier bag, disc from sleeve, onto the spindle, seemingly all in one movement, before I’d had chance to say hello and turn the TV off.
I have no idea what made him buy this, where he had heard it, or of it, prior to his purchase. As it emanated from the speakers, he was already sitting on the sofa, beaming with pride.
It’s a weird tune, and no mistake: over a proggy, dubby bassline and synth flourishes (I’m rubbish at actually describing music, I know, I know) an elderly gentleman – the titular Lionel – reads out letters written to buxom ladies who feature in the sort of adult magazine you used to find discarded in woodland, if you catch my drift. And yes, I used the word ‘titular’ with a knowing wink.
As you might expect from such a source, there’s a bit of effing and jeffing.
Whenever I hear it, I’m back in the flat of filth, and Llŷr is there, plonked in the middle of the sofa, chuckling away to himself, delighted at his latest find.
Man, oh man, I miss those days.
Drive Red 5 – Yours Sincerely Lionel (Dirty Dream)