Charlatans singer, Tim Burgess, has swapped drink and drugs for coffee and tweets, but his record buying obsession remains. Tim Book Two finds our hero feeding his crate-digging* addiction in pursuit of vinyl targets set by a host of music luminaries over the course of a Charlatans world tour. It's all an excuse to write with passion and depth about music and record shops and for anyone who loves either Tim Book Two is 257 pages of pure joy.
Right from the Introduction, Burgess is clear how much records mean to him, almost as a "Reader Beware" notice: "I can always remember who gave me which record or who recommended I buy it. If the recommendation is a dud, I question how much they know me and even whether we can remain friends." Mates of Tim must approach disc swapping warily, although given that Tim Book Two reveals that Burgess loves people as much as music, perhaps not. Certainly some friends, it seems, never fail: "The records we love reveal layers about us that people may not pick up through how we act, the job we do or the public face we show. A recommendation from someone you don't know can cause trepidation – but when it comes from Bob Stanley [author of the equally wonderful 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah – the Story of Modern Pop', and band member of markontour favourites Saint Etienne] it only generates excitement."
Tim Book Two provides a very long list of such banker suggestions, from Iggy Pop, who proffers three rather than the required one obscure album for Tim to hunt down, to Bobby Gillespie's pick of Joe Gibbs and the Professionals, and Lauren Laverne's challenge of Royal Trux. Ian McCulloch, of Echo and the Bunnymen, chose Porcupine by, erm, Echo and the Bunnymen. Bob Stanley recommended Lou Christie's Paint America Love, in case you were wondering.
To complete his task list requires Tim to grit his teeth and visit great record shops all over the world, from Istanbul to San Francisco, as the sub-title promises, including some favourites to which I must now return in Manchester, Nottingham, New York, Cardiff, Stockholm, and Copenhagen, plus emporiums that markontour now desperately wants to visit, including End of an Ear in Austin and The Record Detective Agency in London, which somehow I have missed.
Tim Book Two is also something of a addendum to Burgess' acclaimed autobiography, Tellin' Stories, bringing the sober years up to date. He reveals an unabated lust for life and an irrepressibly sunny outlook that infects the reader too. I wanted to start reading all over again once I had finished (actually that's exactly what I did).
Markontour has mixed feelings, however, about Burgess revealing some vinyl addicts' secrets, including that we buy our favourite records many times over. Fortunately Ms Markontour is unlikely to read Tim Book Two and rarely bothers with my blogs, so the duplicates in our collection will remain accidents of a failing memory, but seriously Tim – you'd get thrown out of the Magic Circle for such indiscretion.
Still, overall, Tim Burgess has done a service to vinyl enthusiasts everywhere. Henceforth, anytime some Muggle arches an eyebrow as we return with more presents from the 33rpm treasure trove, we can just point them in the direction of Tim Book Two and evidence of what a real vinyl junkie looks like.
* Crate digging is the selfless act of searching through boxes of records in dusty shops for hours on end in the hope that behind all the Max Bygraves and endless discards of 1980s new romantics tat there will lurk a first pressing of something wonderful and unique, that you can take home as a gift for your loved one in compensation for your extended absence and sallow complexion.