I'm Goin' Away From Home by Ivan R.Griffiths (Vintage Jazz Mart,June 1966) When I last wrote in this magazine concerning my breeding record collection I little knew of the trouble which would come my way. Letters poured in from all over. Some writers mocked, others offered advice; some were jocularly ribald such as the advertiser in one issue of VJM who wanted to know if male records had pegs instead of the customary holes in the middle, but mostly they asked for details of hormone sprays, stimulative rinses, and so on. Significantly, I received no letter from Jake Schneider. One lady wrote in to say that I ought to be ashamed of myself for letting my discs carry on in such a fashion, and hinted darkly that I must set them a very bad example. Be that as it may, I would certainly hesitate to exert any kind of moral restraint upon them; they virtually have the run of the entire house and come and go as they please. I learned my lesson long ago when I locked an Okeh Hot Five in the coal cellar with a Victor R.H.P., in the hope of begetting an Armstrong- Morton collaboration. After a week I found them sulking literally feet apart, just staring at each other. This was not all, however, the emotional strain had been too much for them and they had both come out in a nasty psychosomatic grey mildew rash. It took a week of coddling with Grampo (applied with a Gramponge) before they were fit and well again. In the early days, as I may have suggested in my previous article, I entertained the idea of genetically controlled breeding to produce items such as those by the Stinking Sox Seraphic Duo on the mysterious XX label, and eventually discs which had never been recorded, such as items by Bolden or Emmett Hardy. Although I searched and searched through junkshops, bookshops and libraries, I just couldn't find an authoritative work on the subject. Indesperation I consulted our family physician and explained the position. Several days later he paid me a visit in a closed white van accompanied by two burly gentlemen in short white coats. As they came up my drive I could see that the Doc was waving a sheaf of paper about, so, seeing that he was up to no good, I locked and barred all possible entrances and hid under the bed, my collection of Sleepy John Estes discs nuzzling me drowsily in the gloom. I could only assume that my somewhat Victorian medic had sicked the local moral welfare people on to me and that they had come down to place my collection under "care and protection". Eventually, after many knockings and mutterings, they went away. People who should have more sense of decency ask me from time to time if I have ever seen a couple of records "in action", as it were. I can only say that these folk are latent voyeurs, I would not dream of invading my records' privacy and intimate moments. From my experience I should say that they are habitually shy and retiring as a general rule, something like Cattus Domesticus. Although I once had a very brash and impudent Charles Penrose disc, I played it one day and it laughed at me. I was so incensed that I immediately smashed it with a coal hammer. There it lay, quite dead, broken in several places. Remorse followed quickly, and I glanced around to see if I had been observed. My collection glared back at me, and, in my mind's eye I could see "MURDERER" stamped across the labels of every one. I tried to make amends when later, in Tewksbury, I found a pile of rare Grey Gulls and Radiexes submerged in a barrel full of rain, I tried resuscitation but alas! - they fell to pieces in my hands. The poor things must have been drowned a long time. I decided to dedicate my life to the rescue of old, worn- out gramophone records from junkshops and similar places. It seemed to me a terrible thing that these veterans, after good and faithful service, no doubt grossly misused and abused in their youth, should be cast, like old worn- out boots, into the workhouse as you might say; battered about in an unhealthy atmosphere of grime and damp until they finally expired and fell to pieces. I would purchase them no matter what the cost; Harry Bluffs and Ernest Hares, Home Guard Bands and J.H. Squire Celeste Octette; bathe their scratches and torn grooves and keep them safe from grit and mildew. Occasionally I would play them - no matter what they cost - because I knew, deep inside me, that records like being played. After all, wasn't this the reason for their creation? I was so excited with my new-found mission that I tould our vicar about it last Sunday. He looked at me for a long time before commending me upon my Christian motives, then he went over to my wife and muttered in her ear, glancing at me from time to time. My wife hurried off, and the vicar returned, a beaming and benificient smile upon his face, his hands clasped before him, as vicars do. He asked me about my records. I told him in detail (skimming over the breeding bit - you can never tell what might upset a sensitive vicar) - and he tuttered in all the right places. Eventually my wife returned with our doctor still waving his sheaf of papers. So I began to move away. I was gently restrained by the vicar. I must admit that I was wrong about the doctor. He was quite friendly, and for some reason seemed to think that I had been overdoing things a bit lately, and suggested a long rest at an hotel he knew. I was mistaken about the burly men in the shot coats, too. It appears that they were two of the waiters at this hotel, very nice chaps according to the doctor, and he was merely bringing them round for a cup of tea. My wife and the vicar also thought I needed a rest, so I am going there today. My wife has promised to kick the telly every day for me to stop it feeling superior to the gramophone, so everything should be Okeh. Come to think of it, I am a bit tired. I keep being woken up in the night. It hadn't used to bother me at first, but lately the guitar strumming and kazoo blowing from my Sleepy John Estes collection has become very loud, very loud indeed. But I couldn't, in all fairness, move them from under my bed. After all, that is where they chose to live.