IT’S a Saturday night, I’m in on my own and taking the opportunity to play some old vinyl on my recently purchased turntable.
A few drinks have been consumed and I’m getting into this, picking out some of the more obscure elements of a collection much diminished by damp suffered when it was temporarily stored in my mum’s garage.
I pick up a 12 inch single called The Party’s Begun by a band called Kiss The Blade, and am struck by a message on the inner sleeve.
Written in neat blue biro, it reads: “All my love on your birthday, Derek.”
Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I have no idea who Derek is or was and know nothing about him other than someone he quite liked was into Kiss The Blade — and, if they weren’t, he was keen to change that. I Googled the band and discovered they were from Gloucestershire and not to be confused with the Austrian death Goth band of the same name — an obvious mistake to make.
I wondered about Del, his relationship with the recipient of his gift — if they were partners, are they still together, maybe they were members of the same family. How did their lives pan out? Does he recall handing over the record? Did it go down well?
I do know one thing though, if Derek had been my partner I’d have been wanting something a bit better for my birthday!
I couldn’t remember buying it but, giving the half-decent Goth-pop tune a spin, eventually recalled I had picked it up from a record stall in Hastings market while living in Sussex and undertaking my journalism course.
I was staying on the top floor of a house owned by a family called the Brydons and getting dragged to the pub every night on the pretence of walking their low IQ dog, Padstow, which impacted upon my shorthand practise.
Throughout life we tend to pick up a small circle of people who remain with us, a number who skirt around the periphery and thousands who we maybe meet just once or have an impact on us for a short period of time.
This happened to me in Hastings. I liked the Brydons, but didn’t stay in touch after my five months there, I became friends (briefly) with someone who got sectioned, met a group of white witches, journalists with high-level connections and clear psychiatric needs, pub-goers, bar workers and a landlord who displayed pictures of Oswald Mosley (oh, the hilarious jokes at my expense) and his fascist Blackshirts on the walls of his bar — as well as some very nice people who I have since met or remained connected with through social media.
I have no idea about Derek or his Kiss The Blade single, but I suspect, given that it had obviously been flogged to the second-hand record stall, the person whose birthday he marked by handing over the present either didn’t appreciate it or wasn’t as keen on Derek as he was on them.
Or maybe she/he had told him she was a fan of the Austrian death Goth band and he hadn’t listened. A typical man, Derek.
I suspect his party was over before Kiss The Blade’s had even begun.