Saturday, March 11, 2006

Albums I Forgot I Owned, Part 1

Sonic Boom - Spectrum

Sonic Boom was that guy from Spacemen 3 who didn't go on to become Spiritualized, but who nevertheless specialised in the same sort of tripped-out-psychedelic-fuzzy-guitar-type music. Both him and the other one - who did go on to become Spiritualized - really just wanted to be the Velvet Underground, and in general they made a pretty good job of it.

I had this album on vinyl, because in the early 90s I'd come by a gigantic 1970s record player thing that had its own cabinet with a lift-up glass top, and a gigantic pair of speakers with the most fantastic bass. It was incredibly low-tech and I loved it.

I'm deeply disappointed that there are no pictures of the album cover on the interweb, because it was truly a thing to behold. It had a transparent plastic disc on the front with coloured stripes on it, which sat over a circle with different coloured stripes on it, so that when you spun it you got a pleasing kaleidoscopic effect.

This amused my friend S and me for a short time, before we realised that there's only so much fun you can get out of spinning a piece of coloured plastic. And what with us being students and therefore possessed of minimal amounts of cash, maximal amounts of free time and very little in the way of common sense, it soon occurred to us that it would be infinitely more rewarding to engage with this album as its makers intended - i.e. while in the reality-altering grip of LSD.

I won't bore you with the details, as hearing about other people's acid trips is about as interesting as hearing about other people's babies teething, or whatever it is that babies do. Unless they're acid trips as described by Hunter S. Thompson and filmed by Terry Gilliam, of course, but even then it's pretty borderline.

Until my lovely colleague D mentioned it at work the other day, I'd completely forgotten I ever owned this album. Like most of my other possessions of the time, it was a casualty of The Day I Left University. On that day I got up, packed as much as I could fit into a big black bag, left the house, walked down to the bus station and got on a Eurolines coach bound for Toulouse*. Leaving behind my stereo, my records, my CDs, my books, my horrible armchair, various other items of furniture, my duvet, a rug, various ornamental items, and a man in my bed.

Those were the days.

As far as I know, the records and the stereo ended up in Penzance, and a lovely green glass vase I had now adorns my ex-acid-buddy S's mantelpiece in his swanky Georgian townhouse in Southampton. The fate of the horrible armchair thankfully remains a mystery.


* In the interests of accuracy, the more I think about this, the more I think it's likely that I actually got on a train to London, and then got on a coach to Toulouse. I don't expect the demand was really there for a direct Exeter-to-Toulouse coach service.

5 comments:

longcat said...

don't know the record but i did see rob spaceman preform at a gig recently in finsbury park... (i was fairly underwhelmed by him)...

i'm just going through a vinyl rennaissance myself and it's nice to hear vinyl memories...

and oh the records i've listened to on acid...

still get nostalgic for acid, though mushrooms are a more likely pastime these days...

x

patroclus said...

It's a mug of peppermint tea for me these days, longcat :-)

I don't remember anything at all about the musical content of this record, which is why I've just written about the sleeve and hoped that no one will notice.

Oops.

Betty said...

Do you know, I saw Sonic Boom supporting (yes, them again) My Bloody Valentine in about 1991 and I can't remember what he sounded like either. Perhaps that was his problem.

patroclus said...

Perhaps he had sinister memory-erasing skills. Always a possibility.

Dave again said...

Mind you, I've heard that drugs can do that to you.