Friday, 8 August 2014


It is 1984 and a fourteen year old me is already habitually recording, cataloguing or listing my interests. I’ve earlier examples (for another day perhaps) and Monkey Picks is simply the latest method of documenting events.

For whatever reason, thirty years ago I decided to keep note of every record I bought. Not only that, but to include where I bought it and how much it cost, and to keep monthly and cumulative expenditure totals (although, typically, I didn’t quite finish it off by calculating the final total in December). Quite why I did all this, I’ve no idea, and I only did so for a year before moving on to a different project in 1985. Maybe I knew I’d be stuck for a blog post in 2014.

As you can see almost everything was Mod or 60s related (interchangeable terms in my young mind) with only a few notable exceptions: The Alarm, The Smiths and even Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Two Tribes” which was such a massive record that summer and cut across the youth cult divide.

Also of interest (to me at least), the list pinpoints the precise moment I developed an interest in northern soul with my first purchase of a Kent Records’ collection in April, On The Soul Side, followed by Shoes two weeks later. Those albums – that entire Kent series - were game changers for kids like me who didn’t know about, or much care for, historic tales of the Wigan Casino but discovered the likes of The Impressions, Bobby Bland, Maxine Brown and Patrice Holloway from these mind-blowing LPs that could easily be bought on suburban high streets.

As for Roland Rat’s “Love Me Tender”, I wonder if my little brother still has it.


The lists can be viewed easier by clicking on them.


  1. These are wonderful! Really have a feel of the time and of being 14... the use of dfferent coloured pens in particular.. and your account keeping made me smile! Good to know that you explained the purchase of Roland Rat there too; I suspect you may have mentioned the reason to the assistant who served you too?!
    (In 1984 I was working full-time in a record shop in would have been the ideal customer, I'm sure!)

  2. Yes, I can imagine looking very sheepish buying that! Although, not as much as the previous year when I bought my mum a Shakin' Stevens record for her birthday and was caught red-handed by my mate...

  3. Excellent.
    I had very similar lists, scrap books, cuttings etc around the 80s but all gone in moves and "cleaning up" over the years. I wish I had kept them, there would have been some gems there like these.
    Superb memories there mate, thanks.

  4. SNAP!!!! Thank goodness, so it wasn’t just me then! I was also writing down every single/LP (- later CD) I bought... the date of its original release (if it was a reissue of an old album – e.g. ‘Small Faces’ on Decca) - and the price I paid for it! It started in '83 - mainly due to the importance that the music made to my life (and still does), this was my first true ‘collection’. I also knew someone who did similar - although he had well over 500 singles and I thought it an impressive way of cataloguing all that I bought in a similar fashion. And yes I still do write every purchase down – in those 'Black & Red' ledgers - but early lists went into spare school exercise books! My slightly more obsessive side has also led to saving the price stickers too…. yes really. Here’s the proof:

  5. Oh John, that makes me feel better! Love it. I also created index cards for every record I bought which included: Tracks, writer, producer, when and where recorded, label, year etc. Doing it for singles and albums wasn't too bad (I suppose) but when it came to compilation albums it would mean doing a card for the album and then one each for every artist to enable me to search through to find out exactly what I had by, say, Chuck Jackson. This went on for years until I was buying so much and couldn't keep up the index. Really pleased to find a like minded soul. Thanks!

  6. Thanks! Initially I thought, “what a great way of being able to find what tracks I have by a particular artist” – but with now over 10 ledgers covering 30+ years, it would take a day or two to go through them all! Northern Soul compilations are the worst – if an artist name or track is unfamiliar, I really struggle to know if I have it already, its literally a case of going through the physical albums/CD’s instead. I guess they might always come in handy for insurance purposes, along with their visual appeal of course! It’s the habitual list maker in some of us. Oh and then there’s the wants lists… but that’s another story!