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.