Lions Rampant Part Two – Guest Post

LIMOGES Ebay Blurb

A few posts ago, I noted the sale on Ebay of a copy of the Candle Records “Lions In My Own Garden” single. In the first of what I hope will be a number of posts regarding his collection, James – the winning bidder – describes his side of the story and why he was delighted to acquire it:

Just to quickly re-cap: In mid-June earlier this year, another copy of the elusive original pressing of “Lions in My Own Garden” reared its head on Ebay. On June 22nd; the copy had sold for a whopping £103.01; the highest sum to date ever paid for the single.

I’d wager most of you must have thought that guy must have been out of his tiny mind! A hundred pounds for a seven inch single? He must have been high on paint thinner or something.

Jokes aside though; it is a perfectly valid question that a lot of people ask of record collectors. Why would somebody be willing to pay such large sums of money for vinyl?

In all honesty; the answer can vary greatly depending on who you ask; after all not everybody in the “record collecting game” if you will collects records for the same reasons.  One person for example may collect records purely in order to make a profit afterwards; while another maybe seeking to obtain a complete set of their favourite artists work (You can count the admin of this very blog in the latter!)

I myself cannot speak for everyone in terms of record collecting; I can however relay some personal stories as to why I find the works of Paddy McAloon so compelling…. And why I decided to pay hand over fist to get my hands that very single.

Hi I’m James, pleased to meet fellow Prefab fans!

Okay, first things first let’s address that issue of price first because I’m betting the vast majority of you are wondering what exactly possessed me to fork over £100 for a seven inch single.

highI’m not going to lie; the price was a bit of a kick in the teeth: it is by far the most money I have ever spent on a Prefab Sprout collectable by a considerable margin; practically doubling the money I spent on obtaining the ultra-rare Japanese exclusive “Jordan the Highlights” Promo CD a few months ago.

I wasn’t at all surprised the single went for over £100 in the end; based on the fact that the last available copy went for £75 and that there only 1000 of the things in existence; my prediction for the final selling price was pretty much spot on.

Man…. to say that auction was intense is an understatement; my heart was racing as I watched the timer tick down to zero. The price of thing just kept jumping and I was getting severe anxiety pangs as I feared my bid possibly wouldn’t be enough. All I could do was pray that Bid-o-Matic (my Ebay sniping software) did its job in the final seconds……tick…….tick……..tick……

“Congratulations! You have won the auction!” the screen exclaimed to me. I had done it…. I  – a mere mortal – had somehow managed to obtain one of the rarest Prefab Sprout artefacts out there, and it was mine…. All mine!!

You see “Lions” on the Candle label had been the top of my want list for a very long time; I spent months and months scouring the net trying to track a copy down to absolutely no avail. I was utterly heartbroken when I missed the copy that went for £75; I wanted that record more than oxygen and I blew that opportunity.

Upon taking my friends advice, I had set up an alert to generate all Prefab Sprout materials onto my Ebay front page and lo and behold another copy of “Lions” reared its head; and I wasn’t going to let the bastard escape my clutches.

I thought I had a pretty comprehensive Prefab Sprout collection; that is until (purely by chance) I came across the administrator of this very blog. Upon kindly furnishing me with a copy of his Prefab discography spanning a whopping 55 pages, it dawned on me that I still have a long way to go on the collecting front!

I’m personally aiming to obtain every commercial Prefab Sprout release on CD and Vinyl; simply because while definitely a difficult task to undertake, it is still an achievable goal. Then once I have gotten to that milestone of sorts, I can then perhaps give my secondary collection dedicated to Scritti Politti some much needed attention!

That Lions single is in my view holy grail of the Prefab canon; being the very first release to bear their name; it carries massive historical significance in regards to the origins of the band and without that key component, one’s collection can never be “truly complete”.

Consider this analogy if you will; you just received a jigsaw puzzle as present and you spend the following weekend putting the thing together; only to discover to your horror that there is a piece missing! All those hours wasted, only to discover that you will never be able to see the completed image.

I consider each Prefab release to be a part of large jigsaw puzzle; except the challenge is not placing the parts in a particular way, it’s actually obtaining them. The thrill of tracking down releases both common and rare is a thrill and trying to get each release as cheaply as possible adds another layer of challenge to an already engaging pastime.

It is a privilege to own a copy of this scarce single; a privilege that many PS fans will not be able to partake in. I have absolutely no idea another copy will ever surface; it’s entirely possible that this may have been the final lion to exit the garden (sorry bad pun!)

To cut a long story short; I was willing to pay the price for it because I’m a huge fan of the band and couldn’t bear the thought of it being absent from my collection. Call it pathological if you like but I have no regrets; sure the price stung me for a few weeks, but it was totally worth it to indulge myself in music that I utterly adore!

The single itself is in remarkably good shape; plays with practically no crackle on both sides, it is a little warped though but thankfully not to the extent that affects play. Also according to the original listing; this copy is special as it was apparently handed to the seller by a relative of the band, very cool indeed!

Written by James Petford, a Prefab Sprout fan who has been abusing solvents apparently.

Twitter: @Jamespetford


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