Monday, 5 July 2010


In 2001 we booked Jello Biafra (former frontman for seminal US punk band The Dead Kennedys) to do his spoken word show at the Phoenix. Jello is one of those artists who have been a big influence on me and the Cavern, informing not only the image of the place but its politics too. So I was happy when he asked me to meet him from St Davids Station to help with some luggage.
Jello wasn't easy to miss on this occasion - he was bent nearly double with a huge oversized army ruck sack on his back. Wow it was heavy. "Books to sell at the show?" I asked. "No man - I've been buying vinyl!" Jello said.
It turns out that Jello is a vinyl junkie with a comprehensive knowledge of Indie and alternative bands. (When he asked if I had any rare Exeter vinyl he might be interested in, he had not only heard of Useful Idiot, but knew the catalogue number of their single - Sacro Egoismo017!)
On this occasion though he was searching for a particularly rare piece of vinyl The Lemon Kitten's Big Dentist Lp.
"Are there any shops in Exeter that might have it?" he asked. I knew of only one place - Hippy John's Emporium, across the road from The Pyramids swimming baths on Heavitree Road. "I'm kind of in love with Daniell Dax." He added.
You often used to see Hippy John at the car booter buying vinyl, and his Emporium specialised in rare prog and punk. (I remember one time I beat him to a mint condition copy of T2s 'It'll All Work Out In Boomland' - I took it into the shop later that week and he did a straight swap for a 1976 Fender Precision Jazz Bass that I used in Annalise.)
So Jello and I arrived at The Emporium just before it closed, and John took us downstairs where he did indeed have no only one, but two copies of The Big Dentist. But you know what, he wouldn't sell one to Jello! He rationalised that he only had two copies and he needed a spare in case one got damaged.
Upstairs in the main part of the shop, next to all the turntables and speakers John had for sale - and rather embarassingly - was a bargain bin full of Dead Kennedys Vinyl for 50p a disc. Jello kindly signed them all for John ... for a discount off some other rarities he'd found!

No comments:

Post a Comment