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April 29, 2008



The only decent record store in Ayr that I can remember was Trash. Was it that one? I got 'Loveless' in there and the guy Euan (sp?) who worked in there used to contribute to Westsound's indie show hosted by Innes Young. Umm ... Glasgow Central ... was that Missing or were there stores that predated it?


Ah yes, Trash, that was it. It was down in a tiny, tiny space near the bus station at first, then later moved to a bigger place at the top of Sandgate. Yeah, Euan was a good chap. My friend Scott and I would always go to the small Trash store on a Saturday morning after we'd cycled into Ayr from Troon. We left our bikes behind Alan MacGibbon's bike shop... went to Trash and the amusements by the bus station, then cycled home. Those were the days....

Yes, it might have been Missing. There were two fairly close to each other. I think. On Oswald Street?


There was also a record shop at the top of the High Street in Ayr, which I think was called 2001. I bought my 12" of Precious / Town Called Malice in there. Of course there was also Speed, which had a shop in Ayr and one in Troon, on Portland Street next to where the old cinema used to be. I didn't really go to Speed. I wasn't allowed...


RE: Pop being 'that collision point between being mass produced and remaining exclusive.'

You could say the same thing of fashion, couldn't you? Or real ale, or mobile phones. It always interested me that you see pop in such a sociological way. Which half the time makes me want to shout something rockist at the screen ('What about the TUNES?'), although really I know you know about the tunes.


I should say 'the Pop i really like'. And yes, you could say the same thing about fashion or real ale. They are potentially part of your jigsaw puzzle. If you are passionate about them, at least. I just happen to feel quite passionately about records. And tunes :) The thing is, when I think and write in response to those kinds of questions, whilst the tunes are of course vital, I do always consider them in a sociological way, because that's the framework I place those tunes within. I don't think musically. Like i say, i don't understand music at all. I always feel musicians are disappointed when i talk to them because I don't play an instrument and don't understand (or care much) about how songs are put together or recorded. Pretty much all i care about IS what does it sound like, how does it make me feel, and how does it enhance my life? It's just that those last two always take me into that sociological ground and I end up boring the pants off everyone. Ah well.


You were brave going to the puggies! I was always too scared to hit the amusements in Kilmarnock and Ayr :) Yeah ... it was Missing on Oswald St.. Right across the road from where the #4 bus from Ayr stops. I got my laser etched Del Amitri 12" in there. I can tell I've inspired new levels of jealousy in you with that line! :)


So you just like the music that you like and if anyone else likes you liking it, it's a bonus?

It's not boring at all, it's fascinating to look at why pop happens on a wider scale than the personal. Nearly impossible, too, because what pop is (for me, right now), is the inflexion Robert Forster gets into the word 'work' in 'Don't Touch Anything'. And how do you scale that up? Why scale that up?

Because, perhaps, for all that it consists of a million indefinable, irreducible moments, pop still needs a narrative (or ten, or a hundred), it still needs to make sense. It's already confusing enough when someone asks what music you like and you know before you start that you don't have enough shared vocabulary to answer (and 'Indie Pop' sounds so wussy and confined). Which is almost what makes it exciting (your exclusivity point), that maybe you like E.M. Forster and Heavenly in equal measure, but the rules for talking about the one are far more defined than the other. Or maybe I just don't know enough Heavenly fans.

Brogues, how do you know it was etched with a laser?

Alistair Fitchett

That line about it being a bonus is interesting isn't it? It gets trotted out a lot by 'indie' groups. I am not sure it is a factor. 'Bonus' suggests something extra, but i have a feeling that there is something intrinsic about the desire to make connections through the moments we identify. Someone else to say 'YES!' to the inflection in Robert's voice, for example. I think at some level we crave that kind of sharing; it is part of the human impulse. And you are right, it doesn't need to be scaled up. Some people respond to the large scale 'shared' moment, and some like those small scale ones. Yes too that it is the need for narrative that puts those individual moments into bigger pictures.

Is the fact that the rules/language for talking about E.M. Forster is more defined down to the fact that there is a much larger, more academically supported base to work from? The 'history' of critical discussion of literature is immeasurably longer than that of pop music, for example. Should that matter? And would Heavenly fans care? If not, why not? Does wanting to talk about Pop music (or anything) at that kind of level make one any less capable of also enjoying it at the basest level?

And yeah, Brogues, which Del Amitri record was it?


I don't think being analytical should preclude enjoying the more primal element of pop. It's good to mix up styles and tones in writing about a medium which often delights in wrong-footing listeners. It's good, too, to write around the subject, because you can only say 'Omigod!!!' so often. And you couldn't say it at all in an academic essay, so that's an advantage.

The disadvantage is, will these wonderful records last in the way that literature does? It was good that Tangents felt like it had a manifesto behind it, like it was trying to build an alternative history. It wasn't just, 'here's what we think is great', it was, 'here is a map of the things we think are great'.

The 'bonus' comment was a cheap shot, but you seemed to be saying that you liked music because you liked it, and that was that. You're right that there's another side to it - even just referencing favourite moments can resonate, without the need to take them apart.

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