Words of welcome in 2015

Danny Baker
Danny Baker

John Murray on gifts and nostalgia at Christmas

Did you receive any books as a gift last week? Or maybe a book token?

Whether I am old fashioned or just a traditionalist, I still prefer real books as opposed to the small print electronic versions and the range of display devices now favoured by an increasing audience.

I still watch short videos at a stretch on my phone and this week, I even uploaded a few, but I still get irritated looking at ‘online instructions’ or a webinar on a small device.

That said, my current reading material includes the second instalment in the autobiographical life of Danny Baker.

Going Off Alarming (Orion Books, £20), tells of his showbiz life told with humour consistently along the way.

Currently hosting a Saturday BBC Radio 5 chat show which won a Sony Award, his subject matters are completely off the wall and, to a degree, so are his listeners.

Being such a good story teller and a prolific writer, I expect this memoir could be a series of books, but this edition has him meeting Chris Evans for radio, embarking on a television career and the TV ads which became known as the ‘doorstep challenge’.

The sales of vinyl records continue to rise and I expect collectors as well as audiophiles see this as an investment.

I try to convince myself that but really I’m just a hoarder.

Editor Ian Shirley has just published Rare Record Price Guide 2016 (Diamond Publishing, £29.95), and it gets bigger with every edition.

Now with over 100,000 entries and nearly 70mm thick it’s heavy.

The majority is vinyl of course and covers standard issues, 12” singles, LPs, EPs, promo copies, picture discs as well as these new fangled CDs.

The thrill here is to see how much your own discs are worth in the market place and if worth more than £5 then it’s likely to be in this tome.

Surprisingly not just the major artists, while being very collectible, obscure acts and one hit wonders are valuable too due to the rarity.

I’m still looking, still hoping.