by Jon Savage
Greg is out of commission this week (I’ll let him explain) but his first post will be next week!
You may not know this unless you have personally encountered them, but vinyl traders lose their shit over Rodriguez LP’s – and not just any Rodriguez LP – specifically the SA pressing of Cold Fact. There is a positively maniacal “perceived” collectability around this “scarce” LP – aside from a conveniently forgotten fact that every single South African over the age of 30 has got at least one of these lying in their attic somewhere or – as I found out – sometimes more than one. Searching for Rodriguez LP’s is like mining a rubbish bin for Coke tins; unpleasant, but there’s a lot of them in there.
Recently, after I had made the decision to focus on shaping my record collection to be lower in number and higher in quality, I realized that I had somehow lost my copy of Cold Fact over the years and I wanted to buy a replacement as I, like most of us, well and truly love that album.
I started enquiring around among the record shops and I soon started getting ushered in to dark alleyways to view clandestine “super rare” copies of Cold Fact. But the prices were astronomical and the stories around how hard they are to find escalated to that of Kilamanjaro-climbing scale.
However, the truth is that behind the lacquer curtain, they are as common as biltong. I just came back from the Cape Town Vinyl Fare and I must have seen at least 6 of them swapping hands between traders moving clandestinely behind counters, always cover-facing-the-floor in case somebody sees.
Greg apparently discovered one collector who has TWENTY copies of Cold Fact – I shit you not – but refuses to part or sell even one of them! Other traders keep 10 at any given time and float them perpetually on Ebay or Gumtree for R2000 (and above) citing their collectability and value. And heaven help if you have the one pressing that has a spelling error on the label (affectionately known as the Sicto edition)! That one is rarer than albino tiger blood – NOTE: don’t bother to stop reading this article to go and check if your own copy at home is a Sicto because, in reality, these are as rare as traffic fines.
But some traders seem to have a secret oath to keep the hype up about this album’s collectability to keep driving prices up but still, when they see one, they can’t help it: sweat begins to form around their foreheads and the meat cleavers come out.
Here’s what I’ve found – if you happen to be selling a Cold Fact, traders are quick to tell you that the real value of a Cold Fact is approximately R250-R350 and if you try to sell one for more, you are just ripping them off, and boy do they get angry. But whenever one pops up in trading circles and the seller doesn’t capitulate to the flying arrows, these same traders are happy to pay 400, 500 or even 600 for one! I call it Cold Fever, because this album does something weird to people.
This all became too stressful for me in my personal hunt. All I wanted was a good quality copy for my collection so I put out a post on Facebook to see if any normal people would be willing to sell me one for my collection and lone behold, I was saved from the ravenous fangs of the Rodriguez vampires!
We’ve also started an INSTAGRAM account : needlesfromthehaystack – follow if you are interested in some vinyl porn!