WHEN the rest of the country was seemingly going to hell in a handcart, I recently took a trip into Bognor and would like to report a couple of rather nice moments.
At the start of my journey, as I approached the bus stop in Pagham, I noticed a stylish young man (maybe 17) already waiting.
The bus was not due for a few minutes and so I wandered a few yards away to read the small ads in the hairdresser’s shop window.
I became particularly intrigued by the notice about an upcoming meeting on June 25 to choose the photos for the 2012 Pagham calendar.
But as my DeLorean time machine is in the shop at the moment, I concluded that I would have to give that meeting a miss.
My daydreaming was interrupted by a cry behind me from the young man: “Sir, the bus is here!” Sir? I haven’t been called Sir out of context like this since I left teaching 30-odd years ago.
Once in Bognor, I did my usual tour of the charity shops in search of records (LPs).
Unfortunately since my last visit about a year ago, several of the shops that used to sell vinyl no longer do so.
And the ones that do had the usual unsorted, unchecked, unsaleable tat: Richard Clayderperson, Nana Moussaka, discs without sleeves, sleeves without discs, The Black & White Minstrels! Gary Glitter! etc.
Obviously these shops haven’t been paying attention to the market: vinyl sales, new and used, are soaring – but in the case of second-hand, quality is the key.
Accordingly, scratched records like Tribute to Jim Reeves by the Cleethorpes Country Bumpkins, Humberside’s finest C&W band (‘children’s parties and bar mitzvahs a speciality’) just don’t hack it with serious buyers of used vinyl.
And then in the Cancer Research shop I found a little gem: Kenneth Williams singing The Best of Rambling Syd Rumpo!
I approached the till where there were two old dears serving. (Why do volunteers always seem to be even older than I am? Don’t young unemployed people realise how impressive voluntary work looks on a CV?)
When I presented the LP for payment, one of the ladies described how her husband once got a speeding ticket, because he was laughing so much at Kenneth Williams on the car radio, that he lost control of his speed.
I like to think that Kenny’s acid side would have enjoyed that.
We had a little chat about what a character KW was: Rambling Syd was pretty near the knuckle, whereas Julian and Sandy were so beyond the pale that if you looked back, the pale was no longer in sight; but of course the humour wasn’t overt – it was all in the listener’s dirty mind. Priceless.