(compiled 1991-2000)



Trips to London have generally included taking a batch of my worn old singles to the Music & Video Exchange and swapping them for vouchers, in turn exchanged for CDs. Therefore as I work, the ancient beams of the Old Forge have been vibrating to the strains of the Cocteaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Smiths, Voice of the Beehive, Peel sessions, indie bands such as Slowdive and Curve, and even the odd splash of Vivaldi and Mozart, which the house may prefer, given its age. My cats seem equally able to doze through any kind of music, however loud or atonal.


I've continued swapping vinyl at the M&V Exchange & I spent a happy birthday in May acquiring Fall, PJ Harvey and Tori Amos etc., and replacing oldies (Hendrix, T Rex, Dylan, Love, Beefheart) on CD. There are now over 5,000 song titles in my CD database.

When Marmaduke Hussey moved nearby we suddenly got a much-needed VHF relay so I've been able to enjoy Radio 1FM much more in stereo, and like their recent changes (Danny Baker excepted, obviously): Peel in the daytime!; Evening Session & Mark Radcliffe every night; no more DLT or Gary Davies!


My CD single collection grew and I swapped more vinyl for CD at the M&V Exchange, spending another birthday there in May. There are now over 6,500 track titles on my CD database. Purchases of the year for me, in an exceptional year, included Tim Buckley, Cranberries, Elastica, The Fall, Kristin Hersh, Inspiral Carpets, Mazzy Star, Pretenders, Salad, Thrum, Transglobal Underground, Tricky and Jah Wobble (alphabetically).
My cassette and video archive also grew, though one of my cassette decks gave out. The presence of Nicam on the video-recorder made recording from the likes of Later With Jools Holland doubly satisfying. Where would we be without music?


My CD collection has grown to around 8,000 track titles. More vinyl got exchanged for CD at MVTE in London on 20 January and 20 April, and purchases of the year include Jeff Buckley, Portishead, PJ Harvey, Tricky, Belly, Heather Nova and Garbage. I haven't been able to do any tape-to-tape copying as I'm down to one good cassette deck and hope in 1996 to acquire a good cassette, DCC or Mini-Disc recorder. The JVC video-recorder broke down in February and is still awaiting a small part. However the Nicam-tuner part still works for stereo audio recordings.


Musically it seemed to be a year of consolidation, with fewer new bands & sounds breaking through, not that there was a shortage of great new music, & it was perhaps the year in which those funny long remixes I find added to CD singles started really making sense & becoming addictive. The CD database has grown to 10,000+ song titles. More vinyl got traded for CD at M&VE in London, on 29 February, 4 June & 3 October.

Purchases of the year include Catatonia, Ruby, Moloko, Archive, Sneaker Pimps & Kula Shaker, whose 1st CD single, bought as a trade for 50p in June, is already worth 30. I became converted to the marvels of Mini-Disc in January, & have now added a second mini-disc deck. If you are upgrading your hi-fi, they beat cassette or DCC hands down - buy one!


My CD library has grown from 10,000 song titles to 11,900, and my fabulous MiniDisc recording deck now has a choice of over 1,100 items to play. My one trip to the M&VE in London was in April when I exchanged a few LPs for 67 and came back with 10 CDs and some vouchers. My limited Kula Shaker single Tattva which I mentioned last year was worth 30 got re-released with the same catalogue number and is now worth 3 - cheers, Sony! In January I was asked for some tips for the year, and made up a compilation (wonder whether they got it) of Archive, Sneaker Pimps, Moloko, Catatonia, Morcheeba and Broadcast, who all promptly vanished for the rest of the year. I think for 1998 I'll recommend the Spice Girls


My CD library has grown from 12,000 song titles to 13,800, despite having passed on quite a few discs, after copying what I wanted from them to MiniDisc. The MD database, since you ask, has grown quickly from 1,100 titles last year to 4,100 (now that the cost of the blank discs has fallen, from over 10 each a couple of years ago to around 2 now), including sessions and live recordings from the radio, hired and borrowed CDs. I remain a keen advocate of MDs, although my loyalty was severely tested this spring when the optical units of both original Sony MD/Radio portable and Sony MD recorder failed suddenly. Both were out of guarantee and though Sony replaced one unit free of charge, they wouldn't help with the slightly older portable so I had the expense of augmenting it with a second MD deck. It is kept on as an over-expensive Not MD/Radio.
My two trips to the Music & Video Exchange in London gained 235 in vouchers (only a few redeemed so far), and painlessly slimmed down my vinyl collection some more.

My album of the year is probably Bjork's Homogenic, with honourable mentions for the Delgados, PJ Harvey, Belle & Sebastian, Unkle, and Dylan's finally released Live At The Royal Albert Hall, blistering after over 30 years. How I wish I'd been at the concert in 1966.
Massive Attack's Teardrop was a favourite single, as was Hole's Celebrity Skin and Primal Scream's My Bloody Valentine Arkestra version of If They Move, Kill 'Em. My most essential radio listening was Mary Anne Hobb's Breezeblock, now cut back to just two nights and I hope that is reversed in 1999. I've occasionally found myself listening to Radio 2, which surely can't be right. I was pleased to see Catatonia finally live up to my predictions for them with the hits from International Velvet.


For those of you keeping detailed records, my CD library now has 17,000 song titles, whilst my MiniDiscs, having become as cheap as cassette tape, now store 11,500. I don't think this has been a good year for music with boy/girl bands and corporate career plans stifling creativity. It is alarming how bland all the predictable Travis/Muse/Coldplay/Embrace mafia and their clones are, and I applaud Radiohead for deviating very slightly from the blueprint with their Kid A album. It is a sorry state when a modicum of experimentation in a mainstream band sticks out like such a sore thumb. As always the good music is out there but it hasn't been buried so deeply since 1975, and I just hope that something as fresh and challenging as punk is about to emerge and change everything forever again... or for a couple of years at least. 
It is 1977 again in my house as I have been archiving onto MD my large cassette collection of Jamaican reggae pre-releases which sound absolutely wonderful

This page last updated 25 January, 2004