Monday, May 12, 2008

We're a Winner

I decided to go to Oxford Street after work today, to see if there were any clothes there that I liked. I’ve been thinking I should get some new clothes for a while now, as only about half my clothes were bought in the last year or two – which means that half of my clothes are too big for me, and the other half look tatty because they’re the ones that I wear regularly. So anyway, I got to oxford circus station and had the usual couple of minutes of complete disorientation (oxford circus station has four exits, one on each corner of a junction, and no signs telling you what’s what – which means that you have no idea which way you’re going once you come out). I looked in a few shops, in a bored and unenthusiastic sort of way (shopping for clothes makes me depressed and cranky) and then came across a large police roadblock.

Some inconsiderate person, who, lets face it, had a much worse day than me, seemed to have ended up under a bus. So it goes. The police had about 100 metres of the road cordoned off and I didn’t much feel like rubbernecking, so I turned down the street on my right and decided to take a diversion through Soho.

When I reached the first junction I realised that I was on Berwick street, and remembered that there was a really good independent record shop about five minutes’ walk down the road. I spent a while looking around the place, trying to find CDs by the various artists I like who are too obscure to be available in the normal places (it occurs to me now that I didn’t think to look for the new Ted Leo album, silly me) I didn’t find any of them – they’re probably there, they just have a rather idiosyncratic filing system – but I did find ‘The shepherd’s Dog’ by Iron and Wine and a Curtis Mayfield best of, that had a few tracks that I know, as well as a load from Superfly (which I have). The Curtis Mayfield was only a fiver, so I figured I may as well.

I wandered around London for a while, not finding anything interesting – I’d pretty much given up on even trying to shop for clothes by this point, the motivation had evaporated – and made my way home; which took much longer than I was expecting, because of some kind of railway-related-knobbery.

When I finally got home, and put the Curtis Mayfield CD on the stereo I realised that the guy in the shop had put the wrong CD in the case when he was getting them from the stockroom. What I had was not the best of Curtis Mayfield, but the Best of The Impressions – the old soul group he used to be in.

I was a little miffed, but actually, this CD seems to be really good – excellent sunshine music, all pop-soul and funk, and the lyrics are imbued with that sort of exuberant optimism you get in soul music between the passing of the civil rights act and the assassination of Martin Luther King. It’s probably better summertime music than the Curtis Mayfield best of, which belongs to the darkness of the 1970s pusherman and ghettochild, despite its funkyness.

So yeah, thank you fate, fatality, and incompetence – I have discovered some more good music that I didn’t know before.


EDIT: As ed pointed out, I now know it wasn't someone getting hit by a bus, but in fact someone being stabbed to death in a gang brawl outside McDonalds.

Oh yes. London is precisely that classy.