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The Quietus | Features | Baker’s Dozen

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Photo courtesy of Lias Saudi

I gave up on collecting records around 13 years ago. It’s too late to start again now. I’d go out and buy one. Then I’d have just one record. It seems undignified somehow. There was a time in my life when they were precious to me. At high school in Cookstown my pocket money was spent on either blank video tapes – with which I would record my favorite films off the telly – or on CDs from the local music shop. I continued amassing a collection after moving to London at age 18 to study art, even adding a vinyl section to my library once the time was right.

Once art school finished though, once the student loan gravy train ground to a halt, I found maintaining any kind of fixed abode problematic. To the four winds was scattered my collection. The world wide web became quite popular around the same time. A dependency on streaming poured into the gaping hole left behind. Streaming and a life spent for the most part on tour in the decade that followed altered my listening habits considerably. Albums became – predictably – much less relevant. I also found I could no longer remember the names of anyone I was into, everything became kind of ephemeral.

I became largely dependent on my comrades to do the archiving and deep diving, especially my songwriting partner Saul Adamczewski, whose inner record nerd only seems to expand with age. I think having pals like that around constantly can breed a certain kind of entitlement in you if you’re not careful. I grew quite lazy. Now that he lives far, far away, in distant France, where, rumor has it, he’s busy raising a child, who am I supposed to turn to? Discover Weekly? In recent years I’ve noticed this awful feeling creeping over me every time I pick up my phone to select a track if there’s folks round my flat. The same boxes ideas or so present themselves endlessly, or I submit and just hand over the reins to Spotify. It shouldn’t be like this, I tell myself, I should care more than I do. I’m a musician for Christ’s sake!

Sometimes, I think having spent over ten years with the Fat Whites has left me associating music itself with multi-faceted trauma: I blame the music, it’s the music’s fault, if it weren’t for the music, you’d have freed yourself and the rest of the population long ago! But no, it’s just that I haven’t been able to see my brethren in arms much lately, I’ve spent the pandemic writing about them instead of playing with them. The two years that it’s taken to pen Ten Thousand Apologies with Adelle Stripe I now refer to as ‘the great silence’. You can’t really have a bunch of tunes on while you’re busy concocting alternative truths and softcore character assassinations. You need all of your focus for that…

Lias Saoudi is the co-author of Ten Thousand Apologies: Fat White Family and the Miracle of Failure, which is published by White Rabbit. To begin reading his Baker’s Dozen, click the image of him below.


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