Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Halcyon Dreams

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head pub, Mold

Now here’s a fantastic idea: take along any vinyl records of your choice, and you get a fifteen minute slot to play whatever you like.  There’s a regular such evening at the end of every month at the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, North Wales.  It’s a great night’s entertainment combining music and, of course, beer.

I spent a little time raiding my vinyl collection and putting a playlist together.  Then my buddies and me travelled up to Mold.  The Queen’s Head is a pub like any other, but on these Bring Your Own Vinyl nights there’s a set up in the corner with two turntables, mixers etc, and people take turns to spin their wax.  No CDs, cassettes or any other funny business – just beautiful vinyl.

The variety of music to be heard is reassuringly eclectic, with examples from across various genres and ages.  It’s great fun, whether you take a turn on the decks or not – and you’re guaranteed to hear some old favourites or (even better) some new aural treats to research.

I’ve never used DJ equipment before, but no need to worry – the guys were very helpful in using the tech.  It’s quite fun, selecting your track and fading between decks, though I could do with more practice…

Here are the tunes I selected for my turn on the decks:

Ramones – I Just Want to Have Something to do

The lead track of the Ramones’ fourth album, Road to Ruin, this song features a great riff and lyrics of teenage boredom.  Though not considered their best record, I have a real soft spot for Road to Ruin and this song was a no-brainer.

Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire

An obvious Cash song to choose, but there was no way I wasn’t going to play something by this guy and Ring of Fire is always a popular choice.  The song that made me a fan of Johnny Cash.  This is off a random Best Of album that I picked up from a charity shop, and has a wild cover.

The Damned – Stranger on the Town

More punk rock, not that you’d know it – this song from their Strawberries album is some kind of 60’s psychedelic homage complete with brass section.  Possibly my favourite Damned song, the version I played was from The Light at the End of the Tunnel compilation (because it’s the first song on side 2, and easy to find…).

Beastie Boys – Sabrosa

I wanted some more variety for the last track, so went for this jazz funk masterpiece from the Hip Hop masters.  This funky instrumental is off Ill Communication, which I am very glad I have on vinyl!

Despite a few shaky moments with my DJ skills, the set seemed to go well and I really enjoyed it!

Dig out those vinyl albums kids – vinyl is back big time.  The Bring Your Own Vinyl night is an excellent concept – where can you go wrong with classic tunes and some beer?

The next night is on Friday 27th February 2015.

The Halcyon Dreams blog is here, where you can find listed (very helpfully) all the songs played on the night.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

Classic Albums

I was aiming to do one of these Classic Album posts every month.  This is February’s…  These posts are dedicated to the timeless, irreplaceable classics of my music collection.

2. Sex Pistols – “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols”

By 1988 I was looking for something new, music wise.  I had trawled through loads of heavy metal, thrash metal and hardcore, and a lot of it was getting somewhat stale.  The next step to explore was looking like Motley Crue and WASP.  Luckily, something else came along instead.

I’d heard a Sex Pistols song on a late night rock show on the radio.  I’ve never been one to listen to the radio much.  However, when I heard “Anarchy in the UK”, I thought – that sounds great!  Guitars right up front screaming in your face and tons of energy.  The song stayed in my head and I considered saving up a few quid and making the Sex Pistols album my next purchase.  It would be quite a departure from a great deal of my other music; but with punk rock all over Thrasher magazine and skateboarding generally, it seemed the obvious choice. 136184.jpg SP

So I went into Penny Lane Records in Chester a couple of weeks later, and I bought the cassette.  The cassette!  Unbelievable.  One advantage was I had my Sony Walkman with me and could listen to it straight away.  What should I expect though?  My research had yielded a huge amount of scorn for the group – they couldn’t play, couldn’t sing, they were offensive.  Would the tape just be a horrid cacophony of unlistenable noise?  I pressed play.

I heard the jackboot march intro of first track “Holidays in the Sun” and then the music began.  Far from the despicable noise I’d been warned about, I found (much like “Anarchy…”) a sound that was thrilling, exciting, new.  It was rock music, but it was fast and intense and I knew this was what I had been looking for.

“Bodies” followed, and that song is even more exhilarating than the first.  A few rude words though, so don’t play this without headphones.  “God Save the Queen” was a total revelation – anti-establishment hatred wrapped up in the greatest rock riff ever.  Pure genius.  I’d never heard sentiments like that expressed in any form of popular culture before, and I loved it.  “Pretty Vacant” was actually very catchy, not in the least bit talentless noise.  And “Submission” was a change of pace – showing again that the Pistols were not one trick conmen.

Not all of “Never Mind the Bollocks…” is perfect.  I’ve never been a huge fan of “Seventeen”, for example.  Still that song is better than most bands manage in an entire career.

The music doesn’t sound shocking in this day and age, but lyrically we’re dealing with some raw stuff.  What a joy to behold in a Simon Cowell possessed world.

I ended up getting rid of the cassette and buying the album on vinyl later on.  I’ve still got it.  Of course, I then had the CD also.  I listened to it recently on my iPod and it still sounds fantastic.  Quite simply, every home should have a copy of this record.  “Never Mind the Bollocks…” is still, quite possibly, my favourite album of all time.  It opened my eyes (as well as ears) to something different.  It taught me that exploring music, even music that you might be concerned isn’t for you, will provide great results.

Don’t be afraid, try something new.  And listen to the Sex Pistols with the sound cranked up.  Because we still need to think differently, develop our own opinions, and be open minded.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is punk rock.

Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

  1. Holidays in the Sun
  2. Bodies
  3. No Feelings
  4. Liar
  5. God Save the Queen
  6. Problems
  7. Seventeen
  8. Anarchy in the UK
  9. Submission
  10. Pretty Vacant
  11. New York
  12. EMI

Best tracks: God Save the Queen, Pretty Vacant, Holidays in the Sun, Bodies, Submission, Anarchy in the UK

Other cool points: one of the most iconic album covers of all time.

Buy this classic album here.