An early Christmas present

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 10:55 06/12/2013

It's hard not to gloat here - but this week I received what I consider an early Christmas present. It pretty much replaces B.B King's Cook County Jail LP as my favourite gift. Pretty much. Well, it probably doesn't - because that really was special. This was just good timing. But I'm really grateful.

You see, earlier this week I scored a copy of Faith No More's Angel Dust on vinyl. How it came about - well, you can read that link to find out the story. But basically, when I say it was good timing, I'd earlier written about Faithless' Reverence, an album I was still hanging onto for some sentimental reasons outside of the music. A reader replied with a comment, said he'd happily take my Faithless off my hands in exchange for his Faith No More. He didn't care that much for it - he'd tried to give it a go, on a few recommendations and found it wasn't for him. Fair play. Faithless wasn't really for me. Not anymore. So we met up and did the swap.

And we both walked away happy. He got Faithless - a record he liked. I got Faith No More - a record I liked and had wanted to get for some time.

A friend said after that it was a perk - as in a perk of writing. And that's true - I've been plugging away over at my Vinyl Countdown blog for a couple of years now, telling the stories of how the LPs I hang on to have come into my life. And in telling one story (Faithless) I fluked an opportunity to tell another story (Faith No More); a great record to have, one I wanted, and blog-fodder. You've gotta feed the blog. The blog dies if you don't feed it - that's why I'm always at the Facebook page posting about books I'm reading, films I'm seeing and albums I'm listening to/buying. It's no brag. And it is a time-waste, but it's all for the good of feeding the machine - finding something to say.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Faith No More's Angel Dust tour as one of the Best Gigs Ever (my Friday morning series that you can read over at the Phantom Billstickers Facebook page - a new one will be up this morning). That first time seeing Faith No More for me (I  saw the band three times all up, all great shows, all worth seeing) was actually my introduction to Angel Dust. I was a fan of the earlier material but I went to the show blind (or is that deaf?) to the new album. I just wanted to see them - it was a fluke of timing. We drove down to Wellington in the school holidays, my mum wanted to visit her sister; me and a mate scored a ride, went to the gig.

It was a damn-near life-changing event for me. Prior to that I'd only attended gigs with my parents, acts I loved too - but the big ole impersonal stadium shows. This was the first sweaty Town Hall gig. The Town Hall is my favourite venue. And that Faith No More show was the best thing I had experienced at the time - and 20 years on it still stands, thousands of gigs later, as one of my all-time favourite shows.

So the album - obtaining the LP - is wrapped up in that. If I am any sort of vinyl fetishist, and perhaps I am - I have a separate blog dedicated to documenting the various random-finds and must-have purchases - then I'm certainly about having the physical copy of the albums that mean the most to me. And vinyl is the medium I prefer. My CDs don't mean a lot to me - they get given away, traded in for more vinyl, lost in the deluge. Turned into coasters by the tiny strutting two year old who crashes at my joint. But the records live with me; the collection grows. It's part of who I am. That's just how I am - and I take some comfort in the fact that actually it's not just me, many of you are like that too.

Or at least some version of it.Angel Dust

So now I have Faith No More's Angel Dust on vinyl - and here's how it happened. And yes, I did think it odd, like almost a prank, that someone wanted to swap Faithless for Faith No More; was he having a laugh? But no. Just a reader who follows the blogs, someone who saw an opportunity. I hope he's happy with his Faithless record. I'm certainly pleased with my Faith No More. I consider it an early Christmas present; the reward (payment) for plugging away at The Vinyl Countdown, writing some 750 odd posts (many of them very odd) about records I've clung to, and some I've flung - far from the house...

If one double LP seems cheap for over 700 posts well, that's just the state of writing. I'm calling it a win/win.

And an early Christmas present.

So, what I wanted to know today was what's the best swap you ever took part in? I remember trading tapes at school, and I don't care to think back to whether I came out on top or not. But this is certainly the best swap I've ever had, music-wise. And I'll look forward to another sit-down session with Angel Dust this afternoon. When the tiny strutting guy runs out of juice after his busy morning or bossing me around.

But what about you? What's the best music gift or trade you've had? And since I feel I've had mine what one music-related Christmas present would you hope for this year?

Blog on the Tracks is on Facebook and Twitter.

You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts.


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