When I first moved to Columbus, Ohio in the late 1980s, Scrawl were my favorite local band. They were also the favorite local band of people living in my house, so I never needed to buy the trio’s Lps when originally released. But when I moved out, I had to get my own copy. I telephoned Magnolia Thunderpussy to reserve the then recently released 1989 CD two-fer re-issue. It took me less than 15 mins. to cycle down High Street from my house on W. Blake Ave. to the store, by which time, some douchebag had finagled my copy claiming, when asked, that, oh yeah, he was the one who called to ask them to hold one behind the counter. For some reason, maybe because I was simply too crestfallen and bitter, it was some time before I managed to pick it up.
Fast forward a couple of years to when I was writing for the Ohio State University student newspaper, The Lantern. I was writing an interview feature on observational comedienne Reno, who was in town for a while workshopping her new act. We hit it off and exchanged CDs, she lent me PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me while I loaned her my hard-won Scrawl compilation. Shortly, I returned the Harvey (which I didn’t really care for) and waited for my disc. And waited. And waited.
Fifteen years later I was still waiting. In the intervening time, I’d move to England and, having periodically mourned the loss, finally decided enough was enough. It was easy enough to locate Reno on the interweb; I e-mailed, first lightly asking after her health, then reminded her of the situation and, for the lols as much as anything, requested the return of my CD, if she was finished listening to it. I even described the spine to help her locate the disc in her collection. To my pleasant surprize, she still had it and sent it forthwith with a kindly note attached. I think she was a/bemused at my tenacity and hope she got some material out of the episode.
I am playing the disc to gee me up for gettin’ down tonight.
Great time had by all last night, Scrawl were as powerful as ever I’ve seen them, the first time being in 1987! It was, however, a surreal experience watching all these very drunk indie kids and indie old people (99% white, 75% male) appreciating ironically giant purple octopus installations, arcade gambling and walls painted with signs that said Fun Times; ah, the kitsch charms of a Pontins holiday park. It was as if some architect with way too much time on her hands set out to design a venue to be appreciated ironically by very drunk indie kids and indie old people; and yet the contrivances were genuine, the detail true to life.
Let’s just say I’m glad I wasn’t tripping on anything stronger than Guinness.