I’m not proud of this but I feel talking about it will help me move on. My first seven inch single (not my first single) was Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire I’d seen the epic video on TOTP and bought it the next day with pocket money. I learnt all the words, and through them learnt to name check a handful of twentieth century atrocities and celebrity scandals. More importantly, I learnt that these disasters weren’t the fault of any living person. Rather, Joel assured me, they’d “always been burning, since the world’s been turning”. While 9 year old me was disturbed by the poor grammar in the chorus, Joel’s presentation of conflict as imminent to late modernity was appealing. By the early 90s, however, I was no longer convinced that the song offered sufficient evidence to absolve the baby-boomers of responsibility for the mess they’d left us and I proceeded to erase all the lyrics from my memory, replacing them with lyrics to REM’s End Of The World – a similar type of song, pre-dating Joel’s by two years, and way better.
The last new seven inch single I bought was Kid Harpoon’s Milkmaid. I saw him perform it at the Union Chapel. He’s like an imp in a small waistcoat, and the song is like a cheery Thomas Hardy novella bound in gingham. No idea why I bought it. Technically speaking, the last seven inch I actually bought was Opon Oye by Dele Ojo and his Star Brother Band. It was the bottom record on a stack of twenty AfroBeat discs I picked up on Brick Lane for a fiver. Nice guitar. Quite scratched. It isn’t on youtube.