I had a few days away this week in the wonderful city of Glasgow, where I was born. I took my mother and my wife and we stayed in the Hillhead area, which is to the west of town.
It’s a vibrant area full of independent restaurants and retail with lots of culture on offer (the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is nearby). I hadn’t been to Glasgow for ages, so it was great to potter around, stop off in cafés, visit galleries and the like. I didn’t really ‘do’ any record shops while I was there because it was primarily a family break but I did what turned out to be the next best thing and popped into the Oxfam Music shop on the Byres Road.
This was a fantastic place and it’s been a long time since I’ve looked through racks of secondhand CDs and come across so many things I immediately wanted to buy! A Lloyd Cole fan, for whatever reason, had decided to offload a big collection of CDs which I greedily snapped up. I’m a Cole aficionado myself, but that doesn’t mean there are not gaps in my collection. For example, while I own the vinyl of his 2013 album Standards, I never acquired the CD and German label Tapete really did a lovely job of the packaging, with a ‘debossed’ gatefold card sleeve. £3.99 seemed fair enough. For some reason I do not own 2010’s Broken Record at all, which defies logic, so I was very pleased to pick this up on CD, especially since the condition was mint. That one was £4.99. This album is next for the reissue treatment, by the way.
And so it continued. I do own the 2001 Collected Recordings 4CD box set, which includes the ‘lost’ 2001 albums Etc. and Plastic Wood, but I don’t have the individual releases, and there they were in this Oxfam shop, so I snapped them up. These were issued on XIII BIS Records, as was The Negatives album, which again I only have in that box set so I bought the original CD of that as well. I passed on the 2CD deluxe of Rattlesnakes believing I definitely owned that only to return the next day having woken in a cold sweat concluding that I was mistaken and that particular edition wasn’t on my shelf!
I don’t think I’d ever seen a seven-inch of Lloyd’s ‘Downtown’, single #3 from his 1990 debut solo album. Probably because it didn’t chart at the time. There was a copy in Oxfam for £1 and the good front cover plus the inclusion of a live version of ‘A Long Way Down’ on the B-side meant it was an easy purchase.
Aside from Lloyd Cole I picked up a massive pile of Tori Amos UK/USA CD singles (‘God’, ‘Caught A Lite Sneeze’, ‘Spark’, ‘Pretty Good Year’ etc.) for 99p each and finally acquired the 2CD+DVD deluxe of Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club which I’ve never seen cheap anywhere and even in Oxfam cost me £8.99. I bought a few other ad hoc items (the 12-inch of Malcolm McLaren’s ‘Duck For The Oyster’ and a press pack for Bryan Ferry’s Taxi) and by the end of a good hour in the store I parted with over £70 but was extremely happy with my purchases and felt rather pleased with myself!
The other story I feel obliged to share, which is a bit embarrassing, has to do with Luke Haines. He is on tour with REM’s Peter Buck at the moment, promoting their new album Beat Poetry For Survivalists. The tour has been delayed for two years due to COVID, but the pair were finally on the road. I knew they were playing two nights at London’s 100 Club next week (Monday and Tuesday) and was planning to go to one of them, but before we left for Scotland, I spotted that they were also playing in Glasgow on a night that we’d actually be in town! It fleetingly occurred to me that it would be great to go and see them but I dismissed it because a) I didn’t know where the venue was in relation to where we were staying and b) I thought the idea was a bit anti-social since “going to see Luke Haines” is not necessarily either my mum’s, nor my wife’s idea of a good night out!
Anyway, Thursday morning was the day we were checking out of our hotel (The Grosvenor). I was sat there with my mum tucking into a ‘full Scottish’ (you can’t beat a bit of Lorne sausage) and who should I see wander in and say “breakfast for one”? Only Peter Buck! What the hell…? He sat down at the very next table. The penny of course dropped and a quick search on my phone revealed that Luke Haines and Peter Buck had played in the Òran Mór venue which was literally right across the road from the hotel. FFS. We’d had an early dinner at The Ubiquitous Chip on Wednesday evening and retired back to the hotel for a relatively early night. I could have easily popped over and enjoyed some live music. Argh! What an annoying missed opportunity. I’ve met and chatted with Luke a few times (you can read this old interview) and had visions of saying hello at the intimate venue and enjoying a late night, post-gig beer with Haines, Buck and band! Oh well. Of course, I left Peter Buck in peace to enjoy his breakfast and will just have to ‘make do’ with seeing them at The 100 Club on Tuesday! Tickets are still available. If you want to buy the new album, links are below.
Lloyd Cole also happens to be on tour in the UK this week. Tickets here.
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Luke Haines & Peter Buck
Beat Poetry For Survivalists - CD edition
Compare prices and pre-order
Luke Haines & Peter Buck
Beat Poetry For Survivalists - vinyl LP