"We're not taking cash today..." announces one of the jovial pair of older ladies behind the counter at the Princess Alice Hospice shop. "You'll have to do a fan-dance for us", she tells one of the other oldies milling around by the till. I'm in the corner, obviously, with my back to them, flicking through the L.P.s. This is the place that had the Linda Lewis album I didn't buy (for karmic reasons) and the nice copy of Phil Collins, Hello, I must be going which, if you'll recall, I also didn't buy because they were asking three quid for it. And because it's by Phil Collins and therefore most probably a cack of shit, regardless of what the editors of The Mojo Collection have to say in its defence. This is the last stop on the charity shop run and things are getting desperate.
Today I've already failed to buy - again for karmic reasons - beautiful copies of Grace Jones' Warm Leatherette and Harry Nilsson's Nilsson Schmilsson. I have both already but neither of my copies are in as good nick as either of these and they're only a pound each. The Nilsson has the original black inner sleeve with the plug for the (then) new R. Buckmaster Fuller book - or is it F. Ruckminster Buller? I have this too (the inner sleeve that is, not the book by B. Fuckminster Ruler), only it's currently housing my copy of Dory Previn's Mythical Kings and Iguanas L.P. I'd been meaning to try to track down the rightful owner of this inner sleeve ever since I noticed that the catalogue numbers didn't match but, as with so many things, never got around to it. Such is life, eh? One door opens, another one slams shut in your face. You've no sooner reunited your Nilsson Schmilsson with its original inner sleeve than you realise you have to hunt for a new one for Mythical Kings and Iguanas...
The idea behind all this karmic non-purchasing is quite simple; if you don't really, really, really, really, really, really want something, you leave it for someone who really, really, really, really, really, really does. Karma thus satisfied, you know that having left the Nilsson and the Grace Jones and the slightly battered picture sleeved copy of Hit me with your rhythm stick that you've just remembered you didn't pick up in the Romanian Orphans place that isn't the FARA shop and the Linda Lewis you will once again not buy so that some real diehard L.L. fan who doesn't already have her 1975 disco album can have that all-their-Christmases-have-come-at-once-feeling when they eventually *do* find it, you will in turn, and as a direct result of all this self sacrifice and benevolence, find as you're flipping back the last half dozen or so albums of the day's trawl that much-coveted, top-opening, low-numbered, mono copy of the White Album with the black inner sleeves and barely ever opened poster sat there waiting just for you.
And so you shuffle disconsolately through the last of the James Last and the Johnny Mathis, the Spandau Ballet and the Mrs. Mills until there, suddenly, they are - first Indiscreet
and then, sat proudly in amongst the last four or five no-hopers, Kimono my House.
"Where do you want me to do the fan dance?" I ask the ladies at the till...