Recycling the Soul
Today I've made several visits to recycling plants, to dispose of unsold R*E*P*E*A*T CDs.
I've been putting this off for as long as possible in the vain hope that a member of The Virgin Suicides would win X Factor or Seymour Patrick would become a world famous ballet dancer or Volunteers be asked to sing at the Royal Variety Performance or something, and that then each of the hundreds unsold releases I had stockpiled in the R*E*P*E*A*T 'warehouse' would be worth a mint. But the only mint I got was the mouldy one I found under one of the boxes, and 'the warehouse' had actually invaded 2 rooms of my house.
Realising it was time to reclaim at least some of my space, leaving just 50 copies of each CD release, I looked for somewhere to recycle them.
The trauma of the process was heightened by the fact that not only have I been unable to sell these works of art over the years, two waste management plants wouldn't even let me give them away. Finally I was reduced to secretively putting them in book and CD banks at local recycling centres; in a sort of guerilla recycling operation, I toured from dump to dump reluctantly letting go of my precious but unwanted load. In the drizzle, dropping them in a few at a time into the cavernous containers, I felt almost as if I was drowning my children.
It's not so much the financial cost of the 3000 or so CDs I've had to chuck, it's the time and love and especially the hope and dreams invested in them all, not just by the bands and by me, but by the designers, the distributors, their advocates and supporters and fans from around the world, all that thrown away. Every release I have loved, nurtured and believed in, every release I have been convinced would change the world, every release should have been a massive cult hit, and now nearly every release has had to be pulped.
Honourable mention of CDs that have sold well enough to avoid the drop include all the early Miss Black America releases, The Dawn Parade releases, The Hammers / Foxy Ramone CD (as seen on Blue Peter!), the Autons single and album and Four Star Mary (anyone remember them?). All the rest have had considerable quantities dumped unceremonially in an anonymous big blue bin somewhere on the outskirts of Cambridge.
But to be positive again, 3000 unsold CDs may seem like a hell of a lot but if you consider we must have produced around 30,000 of the blighters, it's not a bad proportion (I wonder how many unsold Leanne Mitchell CDs there are secretly being shipped out to the fortunate folk of Africa as I type?Way more than 3000 I'd suggest). Every release has been a work of art in its own right, and even if no one else in the world agreed, I have loved and been inspired by and proud to release them all. Judged in commercial terms, these releases have been 'failures' but to me they were all earth shattering successes heart felt and beautiful and passionate and honest, as well as symbols of exciting collaborations and valued friendships.
And anyway, I am proud to be a lousy capitalist.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it's only by shedding the old that I'll be able to make room for the new.
So here's looking forward to R*E*P*E*A*T's new and exciting and world changing releases from Beverley Kills (our first ever 10 single on red vinyl too!), Chasing Melfina and a picture disk featuring long time heroes, S*M*A*S*H.I don't know about you, but I just can't wait!
Thanks for everyone who's worked with me on releasing such a back catalogue of incredible music over the years, I am so proud to have been involved with everything !
1. I'll be taking 2 of each CD release to the Mind shop
in Cambridge watch FB for details.
More Glimpses of the future...