This post will probably make no sense to normal folk who don’t remember where they were when Record shop day April 20th 2013 rolled around and having heard nothing from the Boards of Canada for years nobody really expected anything out of the ordinary to happen. Such is the band’s lack of preponderance to talk to anyone, to give any interviews or to let anyone know when a new record is coming out, that no one expects. Actually thats a lie, everyone expects but no one actually expects, us fans are a cult and feast on any morsel spat out on Twitter, speculating as to the point of becoming dangerously obsessive. I’ve often thought about writing to them at Turquoise Hexagon Sun and asking for stickers and posters, as I used to as a boy when writing to beer and car companies, some would send stuff, others not. I quickly ditched the car obsession and stuck with beer, its more reliable and affordable. So when news broke of a new record on record store day; 30 seconds or so of garbled electronic sound with 6 broken spoken glitchy numbers and not much else, the world of Boards of Canada all suddenly sat up and listened. it was the start of a mental global treasure hunt in which records and clues embedded in radio and telly would be hidden to form a code to lead the devoted and borderline insane to a web site via really complicated mathematics and computer programming, all of which were incomprehensible to me and so I was happy to follow this whole saga on the internet. Everyday Boffins of Canada poured over Bradshaw railway timetables and meteorological logarithms, effortlessly coming up with dates for the end of civilisation and prophesying the coming of a reality TV star to govern America, which could be considered one and the same, to at least in part.
6 of these records were produced by Warp records, and placed in record shops randomly around the world, all with the same codes, all 30 seconds or so of garbled electronic sound. Only 4 were found. These sell for a fortune, £1500+. Its’ musical history you’re buying not the music, and I think every Boards of Canada fan still thinks they will find one of the two remaining records, somewhere, nestling in some dusty rack at the back of a shop. I know that when I’m rich and famous I’ll be heading off to Dund Gol in Ulaanbaatar to check the electronica section.
So New year came and went and lying in bed on January 2nd I was scrolling through eBay needlessly looking at Boards of Canada stuff when I came across the advert above. I knew what it was pretending to be and so I dismissed it, getting back to the Pye Corner Audio listings, but then I thought…
Checking back, I could see that this had never been sold before, and the catalogue number checked out on Discogs as being either and Art of Noise record, a Taj mahal record, a Beastie Boys record or just 1 listing for the elusive Boards of Canada missing treasure hunt clue record. The bay listing was on about the third page and blissfully obscure in its anonymity, it was £15.15, and so I took a punt. The Holy Grail of vinyl oneupmanship in recent electronic circles.
The days and weeks which followed were spent telling myself that there were 3 options to this potential fluke of fortune.
- The person selling had no idea what it was and was just clearing shelves.
- It was a con, and the record was something else entirely.
- It was actually either Marcus or Michael from BOC and they just popped it on eBay knowing full well I would tell the world and interest in them would be ramped up again potentially for another release. I had dreams of there being a copy of Acid Memories, Catalog 3 and Hooper Bay alongside the record I bought and I would be tasked with telling the world of the eventual release of these mythical early records. A big responsibility and I was already thinking if I could have a break for my day job to travel the world and spread the gospel of whatever the hell the gospel is or was.
Funnily enough, there was a postal problem in the UK as the Royal Mail limped on crippled with Covid and post which was expected didn’t come for ages, I had a whole 8 or 9 days without anything apart from nervous anxiety being delivered as nothing and collected as I drove around Herefordshire expecting the best. This lack of Postal control like a ruptured sphincter causes no end of trouble for the record collector who has to, at some time, downplay the amount of records which he or she buys by complains that they were all pre orders and blaming the vinyl shortage and it’s bloody Sheeran, Dua fucking Lipa and Adele block booking the pressing plants to get a greedy fist in the vinyl market which they had never even heard of before all the cool kids were using at the detriment of all the smaller Indies.
Then one day last week, it came, the post. 2 records in large cardboard sleeves, and a t-shirt, some letters from the bank which I shredded and what suspiciously looked like it may be a CD in a CD sized jiffy bag. To cut a long story short, which I haven’t as the bulk of the story was what you’ve just read, the record I ordered (detailed clearly in the description above) turned out to be a CD copy of Music Has The Right To Children, which I’ve already got, obviously, on Vinyl and so I’ve complained to the seller and he/she has agreed to give me my money back.
A damp squib of a tale I’m sure you’ll agree, and I know I’m a hopeless romantic and my glass remains 3/4 full at all times, sometimes delusional, but this episode has rekindled my interest in BOC and maybe you’ll see me crate digging in some dusty Marrakech record shop in the main souk, next to the market square, with a glazed look on my face, forehead wrinkled with eye strain as I try to find that 12 inch piece of black plastic with the 30 seconds of garbled electronic sound.