Monday, 25 August 2014

Volcanic Tongue shop R.I.P.

On each of the last two nights I walked along Argyle St. past the entrance to The Hidden Lane.  Both times I felt a surge of sadness that Volcanic Tongue's shop has now closed its doors for the last time.  The news came on Thursday.  Ten years is a good run for a record shop these days but its closing still gave me a jolt of shock.  I went there for the final time last Saturday to (finally - sorry!) pick up the Smoke Jaguar cd-rs that they have aside for me but it was closed so it now feels as if I have unfinished business; that I didn't get to say goodbye.  Happily, the mailorder continues and will no doubt grow stronger now that some of the funds required to run a bricks and mortar shop will be available to buy more stock.  Volcanic Tongue was always more than a record shop.  It was a cultural institution and a focal point for Glaswegian music obsessives with open minds.  I always felt proud that it was based here and the city was most definitely enriched by having it.   It also provided a reason for bands to come to Glasgow and a welcoming space in which they could play.  The in-store events that I attended birthed some of my most cherished memories of the last few years.  Undoubtedly, the Mad Nanna show was the highlight but the last show, Chalaque / Smoke Jaguar / Des McKenna, was a complete and utter blast that still has me smiling whenever I think of it.  Sure I'll miss the browsing and the gigs but above all I'll miss the passion of the shop's proprietors David Keenan and Heather Leigh Murray and their definitive, thought-through and brilliantly-expressed stances on music, films and art and books and their hilarious/scandalous stories (especially the allotment tales!).  Oh, and the recommendations.  They were so on-the-money;  I'll certainly miss them.   Sure, I'll still have the website and the weekly mailout and their inspired descriptions but there's no substitute for someone telling you, all wide-eyed with zeal, why you NEED that Morning and The Sleepy Kids cassette.  Thanks for the memories David and Heather Leigh.  Thanks, too, for putting up with my pathological fear of the bumped corner and mild ringwear.  Oh, and thanks for serving me that time I'd fallen in a gigantic puddle while playing Saturday morning football in Kelvingrove Park and came in caked from head to toe in dry mud looking for all the world like a Terracotta Warrior.  Thanks, above all, for introducing me to Mike Rep, Cheater Slicks, Bassholes and the "pluke spattered teenage wasteland breakdowns"* of Columbus Discount.  I just wish I'd bought more of that stuff from you.  Whenever I BLAST the reissue of this I'll look back on your shop and grin:

Check out the Photo Gallery on Flickr

* - Unquestionably, this Volcanic Tongue description of Cheater Slicks' "Guttural: Live 2010" (Columbus Discount Records CDR-065 LP) is one of the most thrilling pieces of writing about pop music I've ever read:

Fairly amazing and long-time coming live documentation of one of the killingest garage punk primitive rock/roll trios of this or any age, the Cheater Slicks. No one does ugly, pluke spattered teenage wasteland breakdowns with quite as much sass as these three and although evidence of their uniquely greasy live sound has been thin on the ground Columbus Discount have stepped into the fray with the first in a proposed multi-volume series of live jags that catches them in full flight. Cheater Slicks have always been much more than your mere local peddlers of retro kitsch and their reach goes out to everything from classic Texan psych through hunching rockabilly, weepy teenage garage and pre/post Spacemen 3 repeat-riff nirvana. Alla these styles are on display here, with our heroes breaking out some power-crying folk punk in amongst a couple of inspired covers – The Huns “Destination Lonely”, The Modds “Leave My House” – and some great extended bouts of six string savaging. Gimme this and a couple of high ABV US Micros and I’ll never watch a French movie again – that’s a promise! Comes with an insert, recommended!

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