Searching for records in Chester-le-Street - 70s punk singles

The eagle never hunts the fly

Searching for records in Chester-le-Street and Newcastle – I’ve been very busy since last Friday working on the maintenance of this website. I’ve bought a two-year subscription / plan and went ‘Business’ which means it’s much more expensive to run but the bonus is the ability to apply plug-ins.

The plug-in’s I had in mind were a new ‘Theme’ for my site, I wanted one that was quite simple to look at, something that was easy on the eye and easy to read for visitors. There are hundreds more themes available for the wordpress Business Plan’ user.

new theme

I decided to go for a theme called Apostrophe 2. Here’s the blurb that tempted me in.

When you’re looking to get straight to the point, Apostrophe 2 is the theme for you. Simple and clean, Apostrophe 2 shines in the little details: bold type, bright color, and big images.

Apostrophe 2 is a fully responsive magazine theme that’s a pleasure to read from any device. It offers clean typography paired with a modern design. Choose from a single-column layout, or make use of multiple sidebar and footer widget areas. Highlight your best posts to add variety and interest to your homepage, and showcase your social media links at the top of the page.

So, after three days of updating images and post descriptions to fit this new theme, making everything so much more easier to read etc, I decided to concentrate on my site’s search engine optimization. This is better known as SEO. There’s an impressive plug-in to help website creators with this task called Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO

This is their blurb.

Since 2008 Yoast SEO has helped millions of websites worldwide to rank higher in search engines.

Yoast’s mission is SEO for Everyone. Our plugin’s users range from the bakery around the corner to some of the most popular sites on the planet.

Making every post SEO friendly and maximising my web presence in Google is very time consuming but hopefully worth it as the months / years go by. Because there is no point having an information based website / blog like ‘Yellow Paper Suns’ if no-one can find it!

That being said, I did spend some time last week visiting records shops in Chester-le-Street and Newcastle. As long as I’ve got spare money in my pocket I’ll always have that urge to find missing pieces for my archives.

off to Chester-le-Street

Last week I paid a visit to ‘Sound And Vision’ at the top of Chester-le-Street. I’ve talked about the place on here before. Well worth checking out if you’re in the area. I overheard the owner moaning that few people are coming into the shop and buying his items for sale. Records, CDs, DVDs or books. They’re all here!

I think his problem is his lack of marketing skills. It’s obvious to me that more advertising and an online presence is needed. There is a Facebook page but it’s rarely updated. What a missed opportunity.

Anyway, here’s my findings from the visit. A tidy little bundle of punk for £50.

Searching for records in Chester-le-Street - 70s punk singles
Searching for records in Chester-le-Street - Tenpole Tudor
Searching for records in Chester-le-Street - The Troggs
The Troggs ‘Contrasts’ LP with silver cover. Virtually impossible to photograph with the flash

Weirdly I was thinking of buying an original 1977 copy of The Sex Pistols ‘God Save The Queen’ with the silver logo on dark blue label. The one I own is a 1980 re-issue. Record Collectors always prefer the original versions!

Chuffed to find the X-Ray Spex ‘The Day The World Turned Day-Glo’ – this was marked up at £25 but no-way did I pay that when it came to pricing my bundle. I bought it for something more like £15.

I couldn’t leave without adding the Generation X single either. ‘Friday’s Angels’ was not one of their hits and they were kind of in decline by the time this was released in June 1979.

Tenpole Tudor is a great find too. I love this band and have all of their singles but was never tempted by the album back in the day. I’m looking forward to giving this a Spin-It clean then getting it on the deck. I’ve never heard it before!

Seriously, there was a ton more items I could have bought but I realise that I no longer have a job (recently retired) so need to spread my pension and savings out more throughout the month. This restraint wasn’t a problem when I was working with a higher income.

Newcastle here I come

Saturday was ‘shop in Newcastle’ day. I’m getting back into the habit of going to Newcastle and long may it continue. It’s a wonderful City and there are several very good / interesting record shops too.

My first port of call was HMV but I came away empty handed. I was tempted to buy a few items but decided to look elsewhere first. The market stall in Grainger Market was a disappointment. I couldn’t find anything today. There was a rack of records and some boxes I could have looked in but someone was already raking around in them.

With this social distancing requirement there is no way I could have muscled in (like the good old days) and gone ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ with a fellow vinyl freak.

Next stop Windows. I’ve mentioned previously that their prices are a little on the high side but at £15 I thought ‘Inflammable Material’ by Stiff Little Fingers was a record I needed. I know this one from my teenage years. I even saw them at Newcastle City Hall back in 1981/82. Great punk band back then.

But for some strange reason I never picked this album up. I suppose being a schoolkid money wasn’t the easiest thing to have. I made do a lot of the time listening to records my mates had. Most of ’em had ‘Inflammable Material’

Searching for records in Newcastle - Stiff Little Fingers

After shopping in Windows I walked over to Reflex, not too far away, just ’round the corner actually. They stock mostly new release records, plenty of indie and Record Store Day stock. There were plenty to thumb through but nothing really jumped out this time around.

Moved over to their CD racks and found The Rose Garden. I know all about the Rose Garden and have their releases from the late ’60s. What is interesting with this CD though is an abundance of previously unreleased tracks and live material. This one should be interesting.

Searching for records in Newcastle - The Rose Garden CD

RPM Music on High Bridge Street was a disappointment. There was nothing for me in here today. I almost bought a Dr Feelgood album and at £8 the price was good but I decided to keep my money in my pocket.

losers and junkies

I checked out some charity shops in the less salubrious part of Newcastle, saw a few losers and junkies. A tramp was sitting on the ground by a shop entrance counting his ‘chump change’. Not the best area in town to be walking around with a few hundred quid.

The good thing though is that I stumbled upon a new record shop (for me) called ‘Beyond‘ on Westgate Road – this is one of those old style record shops with plenty of vintage vinyl, boxes of singles, cases full of books and racks of posters. My kind of shop. I’ll come here again that’s for sure.

Found a couple of items, the quality and prices were fair. Overall, a good experience and well worth a visit.

Searching for records in Newcastle - Beyond store
Searching for records in Newcastle - Beyond bag

I was pleased to find an original X-Ray Spex ‘Germ Free Adolescence’ album with the inner sleeve. The record is in decent shape but will need a clean before in hits the deck. Same with The Searchers album, this was their 1979/80 come-back release. A much better looking sleeve than the original one from a few months earlier. The track listing is slightly different too.

The Searchers were probably in their thirties at this point in their career. Great moody shot and a classy jangle pop return. Well done boys, you never let me down.

Searching for records in Newcastle - X-Ray Spex
Searching for records in Newcastle - The Searchers

Another search for records in Chester-le-Street and Newcastle is over. Next time I’m sure to add more pieces to my archive. Sunderland also beckons.

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