I seem to have misplaced my Mojo.

I'm sure it was around here somewhere. I had it not that long ago, but I turned my back for a second and it seems to have disappeared. I'm not sure who'd want to take my Mojo (I can't really see that it would be of any use to them) but it's definitely gone.

Well, to be honest I hadn't used it for quite a while. Maybe it just withered and fell off.

I only really noticed this weekend, you see I had been invited to a Stag Night.....


Those of you that have read previous posts will know that I don't really DO manly, macho, blokey-chap stuff. I'm not a fan of football, I champion Goths, I prefer reading comic books to lads' mags, I cannot drive (more on that later), I find Top Gear really annoying and would much rather walk around an art gallery than visit a lapdancing place.

So the idea of a Stag Night with a bunch of men (proper ones too, manly men) filled me with dread.

It's also not that long since that I split from my beautiful ex-girlfriend, so the idea of cheering on someone else's far-more sucessful relationship filled me with unwarranted resentment towards happy couples.

It's not an attractive admission, but it's honest.

I'm sure we've all days where we think "Oh well-fucking-done you. Bra-vo..." even though our friends are just trying to help.

Anyway, I saw the intinerary. The morning was to be spent doing archery with longbows - well, that's not too bad. A bit chappy-man-bokey but at least it's not 5-A-Side footie or touch-rugby or something.

After that, they had booked some off-road driving in a bunch of 4x4's. Well, that's me out then.

I have never sat in the right-hand front seat of a vehicle since my Dad took a picture of me as a chubby baby in his old Morris Traveller. In fact, the only vehicle I've ever operated, apart from my bicycle, is a dodgem car. I don't know much about off-road 4x4 driving but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want me spinning the steering wheel all the way round so that it all drives in reverse?

I had visions of that scene in Father Ted where Father Dougal does a funeral...

Good luck getting your deposit back after that, lads!

So, instead I chose to meet the fellas later on, when we would go out for a meal & drinks.

The restuarant was about as blokey a place as I have ever seen. It had broken pallets on the wall, a full cow's hide on another wall, the room was like an old vault and the massive table seated all 13 of us facing in on one another.

The menu also consisted of meat. Almost exclusively meat. Ribs, steaks, chicken, shredded beef, etc...

(I think there was some coleslaw on the side, but it remained untouched...)

All we needed were goblets and Viking hats and we'd have been set!

But, thankfully, this wasn't one of those Stag Nights where everyone gets dressed up.

Well, not everyone....

Just him.

As the beer flowed the fellas told me about their archery prowess (firing their arrows with terrifying accuracy at face-masks of the groom-to-be), their strange driving instructor ("he lost his hand in a wine-making accident..." ?!?) and playfully argued about who was the Best Best Man...

It turned-out that all of us (bar two) had been someone's Best Man - but only one of them had been a Best Man four times. Four times!

And they were all still together.

That's four-for-four.

Best Best Man ever!

This wasn't too bad. They were all blokes, manly-men an' all that, but I guess as we're all of a certain age that desire to act like an idiot on too much shandy has largely abated.

The bill came and as we debated leaving the Stag to pay the bill (it would be easy to ditch him, I pointed out, "he can't catch us he's a Gingerbread Man..." ) we planned the next couple of places to visit - the oldest pub in Leeds and then somewhere to watch a six-foot biscuit get his groove on.

This is when I realised I had lost my Mojo.

Maybe it's the booze, maybe it's my age, maybe it's the combination of the booze at my age but I've started dancing like my Dad. All finger-pointing-in the air and rocking-back-and-forth from one foot to the other.... it was awful.

I used to love dancing, you couldn't get me off the floor, pogo-ing, headbanging, breakdancing, soft soul-shuffles I could turn my hand to any of them. You know that saying "dance like no-one's watching"?

Well, that's exactly what I would do.
Lost in music. Caught in a trap.
No turning back.

Lost in music.

But now it's much more difficult as everyone IS watching. I was watching.

In a crowded bar, with my new friends, swigging pints and getting rounds I started watching this clumsy, fat, unco-ordinated idiot for about 5minutes - "What an embarrassing prick" I thought. "He should be at home with his cocoa & slippers..."

Then it hit me.

I was looking in a mirror.


Maybe I always did. You see, in my head I think I danced like this:

 Whereas I have photographic evidence that I actually danced like this....

Good God.
Maybe it's not such a bad thing I got rid of my vinyl?




This has to stop.

No more boddypopping, no hand-jiving, no robot-dancing, and absolutely no big-fish-little-fish-cardboard-box. None of it.

In the words of Genesis...  I can't dance.
Or, as Nat King Cole would probably tell me, let's the face the music and stop dancing!


Or perhaps just a little bit after the Reception....?

There's bound to be a disco...

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I have just given away every scrap of vinyl I have ever owned.

All of it.

Hundreds of seven inches, 12 inches, remixes, white-labels, albums, gate-fold sleeves, picture discs, coloured discs, 3-D coloured picture discs, limited editions, Oxfam bargains, student radio promos, stuff I nicked from my time at hospital radio, bargain-bin purchases, birthday & Christmas presents - the LOT!

There were about a dozen carrier bags-full. And one of those little seven-inch record carrier boxes in a fetching burgundy-with-diagonal-fractured-grey-and-black stripes.

Oh yes, ladies. I am THAT cool.

Form an orderly queue.

Included was the first album I ever bought (Complete Madness), a Hanoi Rocks 3-D picture disc I won from the Daily Star (seriously, I did. Read that sentence back and wonder how far we have evolved), the best 12 inch tune in the world , and the first record I ever bought... more later.

The story of my vinyl is quite an interesting one. Not the accumulation of it, that's standard, no the fact that I had already thought I had lost it forever.

A few years ago I was at my mate Sweary Soo's house and we were marvelling at my new i-pod. It was tiny, had 64gb of memory and could fit every tune I had ever heard in my life & it would fit in my pocket. This was the stuff of fantasy, like hover-boots and a Sunday-lunch in a pill. We drunkenly blathered about all the times we had bought records in record shops and what those records meant to us.

There was a reflective pause after I said "I don't even know where my vinyl is anymore..."

You see, I had moved around a lot. I'd packed up cars and been to new homes in Manchester & London, as well as various and many homes in Leeds. I have spent most of my adult life like Robert DeNiro in the overly-praised piss-poor action film "Heat" - always have everything you need to move at a moment's notice.

Or summat.

To be honest I lost interest when the cuban-heeled, Grecian 2000-loving shouty midget Al Pacino took out Henry fucking Rollins in a fistfight.

Al Pacignome??
Beat Henry Rollins???

In a fight??

Rollins could burp Pacino into a fucking coma.

That stupid little fuck has made a career of pissing away his legacy. Not convinced? Try watching Dog Day Afternoon with the knowledge that the same wonderful protagonastist now fancies a trans-gendered Adam Sandler.


But I digress, back to Sweary Soo's.

"It's next door." She said, referring to my lost vinyl.
"You left it here when you sold me that record cabinet".

It's true. I did sell her a record cabinet when I was between homes and stayed with her for a little while. It was my Mum & Dad's. Not that they were big vinyl fans.

But they had a cabinet.

Mum was a big fan of Roxy Music and Bowie (I definitely inherited that) and she had that Beatles single when they look like they've been at the bus-station Photo-Booth.

There were also comedy records by Billy Conolly, Rowan Atkinson & the very first Amnesty International "Secret Policeman's Ball" album - which, as children WE WERE NEVER ALLOWED TO LISTEN TO.

Which we did. Every time their backs were turned.

I can still recite, word-for-word Alexei Sayle's "What's On In Stoke Newington"

Oddly, despite him being a scooter-riding old Mod, I can't remember my Dad having any records at all.

But this was their cabinet. Full of Abba, Boney M, Roxy and other, quite frankly, more boring stuff.... although it did have Barry Ryan's version of "Eloise" - which was a fucking treat and a half.

Anyway,  I had sold it to Sweary Soo.
Contents intact.
My stuff as well as theirs.

I was ridiculously happy when she dropped it all back at my house - but then I realised: I don't want it anymore.

Who needs vinyl? Who needs the big dusty idiots? I've got every tune I need in my pocket. They're not, as some would suggest, beautiful items. They're big, stupid, black flat space-consuming nonsense, It's like keeping betamax copies of "Countdown". Historically accurate snapshots - but who cares?

Vinyl is dead.
Dead as a Dido remix.

I'm not gonna play any of this stuff.

My beautiful tiny ex-girlfriend got me one of those turntables that converts vinyl into MP3's and you can then download them to fit back in your pocket. But once that's done... why keep the vinyl?

Or the turntable?

And so it goes - as the genius Tony Wilson used to say (who also produced the Duruti Column's ill-thought-out sandpaper record sleeve - but unfortunately, I don't have that one.)

I am now vinyl-free. For the first time in thirty years.

And I don't feel sad.

As I bagged up the songs, poems and beautiful orchestrations that have been the soundtrack to my life I felt absolutely no remorse. I'm happy they are out of my life. They're stupid, big, dusty and, for the most part, balls.

And what did I buy?? Loads of 90's indie bobbins (airhead? l7? menswear? lush? curve? carter usm? cud? eddie grant??  hang on... when did I buy eddie grant...??)

So I've passed it on to my old mate Pete, a giant of a man who can turn from the cuddliest man you ever saw to a wall of hairy fury in the blink of an eye. He loves his music but is furiously judgemental about anything that is "bad" music, and so it was a condition of mine that he could have my vinyl - but only if he he took ALL of it.

Because amidst the clear vinyl Bowie "Sound & Vision", the limited edition 7" box set of Paul Weller's "Stanley Road", the Stevie Wonder collector's edition of "Songs In The Key Of Life", the interchangeable covers of Pulp's "Common People", the white vinyl version of Radiohead's "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", Johnny Cash Live At San Quentin and an original Scott 4... there's some right old tat!

The obscure soundtracks.

The spookily decorated classical albums.

Now That's What I Call Music Volume 4.

He had to take everything.

All of it.

That was the deal.

And I can honestly say that I have never seen him happier than when we loaded up the boot of his car. We stood around for about five minutes after loading up because he could barely keep still, he was jittery with excitement.

Pete loves music. He loves records. He adores vinyl.

This is his Disneyland.

So, I have got rid of clutter and made my best friend happier that he's been since the birth of his beautiful tiny daughter.

I consider that a good weekend.

(That said, his partner Clare texted me later on and called me a "fucker" for adding to their houseful of tat and nonsense!!)

Anyway, it's not like I haven't been through this before. About three months ago I gave away a box of old cassette tapes to my old college friend Mark. I have nothing to play cassettes on and he wanted some old tapes. I had no idea why but it seemed like a good deal. He popped around with a bottle of rum & skipped away with an old tomato-box full of TDK 90's.

If you are ever in Leeds, check out his bar - WAX.

And while you are enjoying your boozes take a moment to have a look at the lampshades.

Yeah. They're my old cassettes.

I love that.

So, I mentioned the first record I ever bought. Yeah?

Let me pre-warn you, NOTHING in the next paragraph can ever be considered cool.

I'll just say it how it was:

In 1982 I was on a scout jamboree in Norfolk and tried to impress some Venture Scouts with my recent purchase of "High Fidelity" by The Kids From Fame.... I even sang the B-Side.

The Kids From Fame's musical version of "Othello".

They 80's-popped Shakespeare.

Boy scout.
Trying to impress Venture Scouts.
Singing a Shakespeare interpretation.
By The Kids From Fame.


In fucking Norfolk....

So, brace yourselves:

Good riddance, vinyl.

I loved you, but I had to leave you.

Now just wait until I get round to sorting the fucking CDs.

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