Vinyl demand: Tim Burgess puts the needle on the record

Bloomsbury, London: the heart of British literature and not a shop selling vinyl records for, oof, at least half a mile. Tim Burgess, frontman of The Charlatans, is sitting in a stupendously sunlit room in the offices of Faber & Faber, publisher of his new tome Tim Book Two: Vinyl Adventures From Istanbul To San Francisco. Part paean to LPs and part autobiography, it features a cast of 54 contributors including Ian Rankin, Lauren Laverne, Andrew Weatherall, Bob Stanley and David Lynch, with each naming an album that deserves closer inspection.

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Sympathy for the DVLA: the private plates of Pimlico Plumbers

British Ideas Corporation, 2016

While too many plumbers create havoc for ordinary families with Barney Bodger pipework, spur-of-the-moment joints and wedged-in 4×2 – all nefariously hidden behind a bath panel – there are some, like Pimlico Plumbers, who take the job seriously and have clearly prospered as a result. Londoners will be familiar with the distinctive red, white and blue of Pimlico Plumbers vans but they’ll probably be more aware of the fleet’s private registrations, a creative toilet humour that pulls the chains of both young and old.

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A load of Cock & Bull: the West’s truly alternative festival

So your mobile phone ran out of battery when you were trying to book tickets through the Glastonbury hotline and SXSW is a little too south by south-west for your building-society account to cope with. But ask yourself what you’re really missing. Are you desperate to listen to the foul-mouthed Adele jabbering to 100,000 revellers in an accent not heard in London since the doodlebugs were dropping? As for SXSW, it was in March – it’s gone, you’re too late.

There are still festival options if you’re willing to act quickly and not muck about. British Ideas Corporation heard great things about the 500-capacity Cock & Bull Festival in Bath last year, mostly from South-east-based DJs who had played sets on-site and convinced us that these more intimate gatherings were the future of UK summer fun, especially for people of more advancing years – whatever that meant. Some of this year’s acts are even appearing at major UK festivals, so here’s your chance to catch them close up. Like Glastonbury, the Cock & Bull is on a farm and also assisting a charitable cause – and we’re told the beer will be “normally priced”. We chat with Henry Trew, Cock & Bull’s event organiser, to find out more.

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Getting shirty: Historical Football Kits, the definitive archive

When a new Admiral England kit was launched in 1980, the one with red, white and blue panels on the shoulder, such was its popularity with English children that every junior school and comprehensive from Carlisle to Lizard could have adopted it as their school-team colours. Apologies to inhabitants of other UK countries but there was something about that England shirt that made the wearer feel, well, not a million dollars but a million pounds sterling. For many, a lifelong fascination with football kits started with that Admiral masterpiece.

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Champion Sound: Andrew Collins

The bit of the website where someone of sonic sophistication supplies a selection of serious dance-floor stompers.

Andrew Collins, writer and broadcaster

“I rarely DJ any more outside of family gatherings, but could. When I sold my entire vinyl collection for practical reasons in 2005, I held on to my 7” singles, which, miraculously, fit into a flight case that’s too heavy to comfortably carry, and a selection of cherished Eighties 12”s that fit into a flight case that’s easy to carry. Between the two containers, I could do you a pretty sound Seventies/Eighties/Nineties disco night. Or, with my laptop, something for the kids, but never mind them.” – Andrew Collins, May 2016

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Recommended: Bad Wisdom

Bad Wisdom: The Lighthouse At The Top Of The World
Book by Bill Drummond & Mark Manning (Penguin, 1996)

It’s winter 1992 and self-proclaimed Zen Masters Bill Drummond, formerly of The KLF, Mark Manning aka Zodiac Mindwarp and former Jesus Jones roadie and Falklands War veteran Gimpo embark on a drive to the North Pole in a rental Ford Escort whereupon they intend to lay a picture of Elvis Presley on the ground, perform a kung-fu dance, light some joss sticks and save Earth. Written as part factual-ish on-the-road account and part fantasy adventure, the mix of endless driving, bingo, daytime radio and warped carnage (Viking ice-biker chainsaw battles, lakes of blood, extreme Nordic mind trips where you swim with dolphins for a billion years) means that once the journey is over, it’ll feel pointless ever booking a holiday again. LG

Brighton rock: The Great Escape festival

By Lee Gale

Seagulls pinching chips from kids is one thing but swiping a cheese-and-onion sandwich from the hand of a ravenously hungry adult is a dangerous new development. A flash of feathers and a flap of webbed feet and it’s off. To add insult to injury, a punch aimed at the departing bird goes wildly astray and for a moment, I am an unwitting and unpaid comedy act at Brighton’s Great Escape festival. Naturally, titters follow from lunchtime drinkers. The seagull flaps its mighty wings just twice and lands on the roof of a nearby Pizza Express: job done. Continue reading Brighton rock: The Great Escape festival

Birds of Snowdonia

Illustrations Edwyn Collins  Words Lee Gale

In 2005, Edwyn Collins suffered two strokes, the result of brain haemorrhages caused by high blood pressure. To begin his rebuilding process, Edwyn picked up a pencil and pad and began drawing birds.

As a child, Edwyn was a keen twitcher and even reared an abandoned fledgling greenfinch in his Dundee bedroom, feeding it a watery mix of wild-bird food Swoop. The female greenfinch, named Tweety Pie, would start its sweet song at 5am, waking the household up in the process. Tweety Pie later made a nest in the garden and, if Edwyn left his bedroom window open, would call in.

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Is there a Mr Hodges in the house? [2000 interview with Mike Hodges, film director]

The man who made Get Carter in 1971 is not in the best of moods. Mike Hodges’ journey from Dorset to London has been dogged by train-company failures. Spur-of-the-moment timetable changes mean that Hodges’ nerves are rattled and as it’s 10.30am, it’s too early to go to the pub. If the man who brought Jack Carter to life is hacked off, we’d better be careful. We don’t want to be thrown out of the window of this Leicester Square hotel like Alf Roberts was at that Gateshead car park.

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