Things turn up. There may be a little prodding and searching sometimes, but mostly things turn up on selling sites and it’s really just a question of buying them and waiting for the thud on the doormat.
In a very few cases, one thing leads to another. If someone has some odd piece of Sprout memorabilia, the chances are they were a fan back in the day. About one time in a hundred, the initial purchase pulls something else with it. I had a spectacular success when buying a signed programme which led to someone with a stack of audio and VHS material. More often than not, what you get is no more tangible than a few recollections and memories, but that’s interesting too.
And then there was this. A complete one off jackpot.
On the face of things, this was just a very scruffy Swoon promotional poster on Ebay. I didn’t pay it all that much attention, but as it appears in the iconic Paddy picture from the period, and because I didn’t have one at all, I bid on it and eventually won without any competition.
Payment proceeded as normal, but as the transactional information flashed past on my iPad I noticed a name I recognized on the Paypal information.
Graham Lant. The drummer on Swoon. Heart stopping moment.
By the time I managed to contact him he’d already sealed the poster into a tube for posting, but agreed to pull it out for a signature first. He also answered a few questions which I used on the site. Nothing else he was selling was Sprout related though, and he appears to have retired from music. So I’ve left it a long while before posting this so the details would drop off Ebay and there would be no trail to him.
The poster duly arrived, a bit worse for thirty years of storage – I think it had been in a garage or loft as it smelt mildewed, had crease marks and there had been a staple through it as if it had been attached to something. It is a beautiful poster all the same, the colours are lovely and there’s an exquisite balance to it. Hats off to East Orange.
I do have a pipe-dream to have it signed by the other members of the band, which will probably come to nothing, but for the moment this is the only piece of Sprout memorabilia Graham has ever signed. So however scruffy it is, I couldn’t be happier to have it.