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Andy Barnett's Collection

March 2021

Just tat, yours and mine

Hi! I’m Andy Barnett – you may know me from being the brother of uber-Insatiable One and legend in his own bathtime, David Barnett, and occasionally popping up here and there to irritate you all. I hope you’re well.

I’ve always been a keen collector, with my major obsessions over the years being 2000AD (1987-1992) and The Smiths/Morrissey (1988-2019). Suede take the solid bronze though. I know, part-time fan: I’ll get my coat…

The day David and I first became aware of Suede has been well documented: he was upstairs busy falling out of bed in wonderment at this popmiracle unfolding on The Chart Show, while I was, as every Saturday morning, downstairs poised by the VHS recorder ready to tape the songs that piqued my interest. In this instance, I didn’t hit the record and play buttons as my mum was hoovering and I couldn’t hear it. It has also recently come to light that I was suffering from one of the worst hangovers I have ever experienced that morning, which probably didn’t help my attention nor reactions. Nevertheless, we swapped notes afterwards and I soon caught up.

My own collection was slow to start as David bought everything he could get his hands on as soon as it was available – as we shared a tiny (and very cluttered) bedroom, there was no need for me to bother. My friendly local record shop in Perth, Goldrush, helped out by often saving record displays for me before they were assigned to the skip – I recall having a rectangular board with the band logo on from the release of the debut album (on my 18th birthday, factfans), now sadly lost.

In the autumn of 1993 I moved from Perth to Aberdeen to go to art school and inevitable student penury, which didn’t help with the collecting: I bought the occasional T-shirt (the Stay Together one was worn to destruction) and the singles – I had We are the Pigs on cassingle which Brett and Richard both signed after the December 1994 Aberdeen gig; sadly I’ve misplaced it, along with the pen used for signing which Richard pocketed. Again, John from Goldrush saved me the Dog Man Star display of three massive posters and a pile of records sleeves, which decorated my student bedroom a treat.

That all changed in the summer of 1995 when David went to seek his fortune in London – this was obviously a dream come true for him, and collector heaven for me: excess merchandise and binward promotional jetsam were tagged “I know someone who would like that” and North London postmarked jiffy bags were regularly delightedly received in Aberdeen. In 1999 I moved to London myself (well, Watford) to seek my own fortune (be assistant manager of a small bookshop). My days off usually found me jumping on a train and heading south to Suede HQ to help out at the office. And helping myself from the office.

It’s built up nicely over the years: promo CDs, postcards, backstage passes, promo photos, stickers, tour programmes, tickets, lighters, balloons, badges and bags.

My favourite items? The Head Music headphones are pretty special – I just happened to be loitering in the office when Charlie arrived with a bagful of them and I fluttered my eyelashes until a pair was secured. The London Suede Dog Man Star candle is a bizarre and lovely item, too; I’m also strangely fond of the unattractive but obscure NFT video compilation, currently in a box under the bed.

There are, of course, a few things I’ve seen and coveted or have parted ways with: the inflatable Head Music cube was an ill-advised eBay sale a few years back (nice one, Lydia); the Lucozade/Ravehead bottle from The Beautiful Ones promo used to sit on Charlie’s desk and was crying out for pilfering, but I wisely resisted; and I don’t know where my Beautiful Ones “mirror” went. The Coming Up kite dangling from David’s flat ceiling should have been mine, too.

Like most collections, mine sits on high shelves or in envelopes or are shoved inside record sleeves and are rarely touched or seen. One (hopefully) distant day some poor sod will have to clear up my decades of detritus: my family have been advised to look carefully inside all my records before they flog them, as there may be treasures within.

Sadly the constraints of family life and tedious adulthood have seen my collecting fervour somewhat curtailed over the last couple of decades. Saying that, my long dormant penchant for record collecting has been rekindled with the purchase of a decent turntable after years of shoddy kit – and my patchy Suede collection is being reupholstered. I treated myself to the Animal Nitrate 12” and the Headmusing CD a couple of weeks ago as inexplicably I didn’t own a copy of either. I can see myself heavily falling down the Suede vinyl wormhole in due course: there are a shedload of beautiful record that must be mine.

Christmas 2020 did me proud with both CD and vinyl sets of the Beautiful Ones generously being under the tree – these put my own purchases of the single CD and clear vinyl double in the shade. Of course, all of these gorgeous packages contained photos of various items from my own collection, which was a joy and an honour to be part of. Naturally, boxing up all my iridescent and irreplaceable trinkets and sending them away from home was quite a jolt, but it was all safely returned and all turned out very well indeed. And ties this rambling article up rather neatly, don’t you think?

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