It’s a lovely day outside today in Melbourne! And it hasn’t been the only one this week. There’s been a couple, in fact. So I feel pretty justified in declaring the long, harsh, cold winter over and announcing that summer is here! Okay, okay, Melbourne’s winters aren’t as difficult as some of those experienced in the Northern hemisphere … And yeah, as far as Australia goes, Tasmania and Canberra and parts of NSW country are colder… But look, it’s colder here than it is in Sydney and that’s what really counts.

And so the de-winter-fying of the shop has taken place this week. You might think that means that the coldwave records are going to be on sale or something. But no, we’re not doing that. You can be assured that if there’s ever a sale at Round & Round it likely means we’re going out of business or we’re going to jail (has anyone noticed how we don’t spell it “gaol” in Australia any more? Looked too much like “goal” perhaps?). Now that I think about it, I should mention that we could have Melbourne’s largest range of coldwave records! I’m pretty confident that the two records we have qualifies us to that position:

Die Form “Chronolgy” boxset and

a grumh bloody side

à;GRUMH… “Bloody Side“.

But don’t despair, coldies, about the lack of your favourite records in Melbourne. As long as you don’t mind straying outside the Franco-Belgian square of Europe we have a large range of industrial, minimal synth, EBM and similar sorts of things (easily Melbourne’s largest! I’m talking well over 100 records in this case), and we are sure to have something to interest you.

I digress, the exercise of de-winter-fying involves taking a copy of Jimi Hendrix’s “Live At Winterland and setting it on fire, to represent the use of warming devices throughout the cold months. Then the remains of our last hot chocolate (or Bonox in Joe’s case – the man likes a beefy drink) are poured onto the record to signify that the warming tools and the hot, beefy, chocolate-y beverages are longer required because summer is here.

This second annual de-winter-fying went a lot better than the first. On that occassion, due to some miscommunication, we used records by the band Hot Chocolate, to temper the flames only to find the fire intensify leading to an uncomfortable incident with the fire brigade, who didn’t share our fondness for marking the change of seasons with arson and toxic fumes. Anyway, we can’t offer any of those records at the moment. That Hendrix lp was burnt and all our Hot Chocolate records were confiscated by the firemen in July, just in case we made the same mistake twice. Ask us again next winter.

And so we move to summer! And when I think of summer music the first thing that comes to mind is Reggae! And dub and dancehall and associated musics! Unfortunately the staff members knowledge of Reggae is pretty pyaa-pyaa. Joe has an excuse, I mean take a look at this Scottish beach:

Scottish beach

Or this Scottish palm tree:
Scottish palm tree

Note the lady carrying the tree: There are so few of these palm trees that people are hired to walk up and down the sidewalk carrying one to create an effect similar to the avenue of palms in Beverley Hills. Here you can see two tree carriers at work on McTavish St:

Looks pretty good, doesn’t it!

And as for Jeff… well… he’s spent most of his life listening to coldwave and similar brooding sounds and, as this video clearly shows, that made him the mortal enemy of Reggae lovers:

Siggy has got the marijuana smoking part of the Rastafarian cliché down pat but, because she was so stoned, she kept forgetting to leave her fur matted and the dreadlocks never eventuated. Damn those instinctive feline grooming habits! I was going to put a photo up of Siggy smoking a “jazz cigarette” but she is on probation and didn’t want to risk getting busted again, so I’ve included an artist’s rendition:

So, with little history of Jamaican music, where do we begin? Well, first thing was to practise “bacon or beercan” ten hours a day, for ten days. Then, it was time to brush up on some more patois: This site gave us a fair bit of stuff to learn. We read through the site for, oh, about twenty minutes. Then we were ready to order some records.

We’re starting off this week with a bunch of the excellent compilations from Soul Jazz: Studio One Story, Studio One Dub, Scorcher, Studio One Funk, Dub Echoes, Dancehall 1 & 2 and more. These, added to our existing records from Lee Perry, the Upsetters, King Jammy, Bob Marley, etc mean that a visit to Round & Round is an excellent way to commemorate the beginning of summer! It’s also a safer, more environmentally friendly, and cheaper way of doing it than our arcane ritual (that fine handed to us by the police saw the team eating two minute noodles for the next month in order to pay it!)

In case you’re wondering why we’re only ordering a few Reggae titles in at a time, some of you might remember what happened when we got a huge dancehall shipment in all at once last summer: A party started! And then, that’s right, Marvin got in the roof! Oh why, God? Why, God?

Over the next few months we’ll be delving further and further into the wonderful world of Reggae, Dub and Dancehall as the weather gets warmer and Jeff’s shorts get shorter and Joe’s… well, take a look at Joe behind the counter last January:
Joe behind the counter
By the time the zinc comes out we should have an even bigger swag of Jamaican sounds to choose from.

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