Well it's been quite a couple of days. Got down to London on Thursday right in the middle of a tube strike. Amazingly enough I walked straight out of Kings Cross and onto the No.10 bus. As I entered Kimber's street there was a huge clap of thunder, a dazzling burst of rain and the appearance of a beautiful rainbow at the end of road. I don't know how Kimber does it but I was impressed.
Seeing Kimber is always something of a tonic for me and within minutes of arriving, he opened a can of beer and uncanned a load of insults. I knew I'd arrived.
Later on we managed to get out to Bengal Berties and scoffed our way through a champion bit of grub as well as much chewing of the fat around the book. Helpful comments from Kim le Ber ensued late into the night.
The next morning I headed off to the British Library out in Colindale in North London to take a peek through their newspaper collection. Specifically to trawl through microfilm containing IT, Rolling Stone, Melody Maker, NME, Disc, Record Mirror and Volestrangler's weekly.
The collection is housed in a fine example of art deco architecture and for me it was a real treat to be there. Sadly, the staff didn't quite see things that way. As far as I could gather from the long, drawn out and generally put upon sighs which accompanied even the most basic request, they regarded people who used the facilities as dithering children of low capacity. Here's an extract which I swear I have not made up.
SS sitting at viewing maching which also prints out photocopies of the page or article you want.
British Library Member Of Staff (BLMOS) comes over. . .
BLMOS:Err you can't use that machine to view. You only use that one to print. You view on this machine (points to machine behind SS). You do your research on that one first, then you take the microfilm off that one and put it one the other machine and then print out. (All of which is delivered in a bored, oh-god-not-another-damn-fool-here-to-make-my-life-a misery-monotone.
SS: Err. . .I've done all my research (shows four pages of dense notes containing all the dates and editions of periodicals I need to consult).
BLMOS: (shaking head wearily) Ah but you haven't got the page numbers written down. You're using a printing machine when you should be using a viewing machine.
Well you get the idea. When I asked for an item I had to give my seat number. Half an hour later one of the blokey's would then come and slip a bit of paper on my console which told me that the items I wanted were ready for collection. Going to the kiosk I then hand the chit back to the blokey who had just put it on my console. He then turns round and hands me the mircofilm.
Well, you get the idea. That said I really enjoyed scrolling through those old copies of the Melody Maker. I was struck by the sheer range of music which was covered in a single edition. An in-depth interview with Irish crooner and rocking chair worrier, Val Doonican might sit next to an article on Han Bennik, which lurked in the vacinity of an interview with Eric Clapton. Well you get the idea. . .
After I finished there I headed into town to meet with World Leader David Symes and El Kimbo for some chinwagging and nosherama. David seemed in fine fettle and had brought along a bag full of his KC clippings of the 80's onwards. Comprehensive doesn't quite do it justice and combined with Kimber's collection from the same period, I was a happy camper. We then went to a restaurant ate big food and I interviewed the pair about their recollections and impressions of Discipline /KC in the 80's.
Today I went back to the British Libary for more punishment and thereafter into Denmark for a meeting with Sean Body at Helter Skelter. The very good news is that Sean really liked Chris Wilson's cover and is happy for Chris to do the interior design and lay-out. I'm so pleased about this.