Players on their careers and hobbies outside cricket
Interview by Paul Coupar
Were there many other big record collectors on the county circuit?
[Graham] Gooch liked his music when he was young. When he first started at Essex, I'm told he used to arrive on his scooter with a mod parka and badges. He once told me that he was looking through an old suitcase and he's got loads of original singles from the sixties - Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, stuff like that. I said, "Let me have a look at it. Don't throw it away."
Was there much mickey-taking, along the lines of "You want to get some Phil Collins or Chris de Burgh bought?"
Certainly when I was at Essex they used to take the mickey out of what Clem Driver, the scorer, who was my travelling companion a lot of the time, used to refer to as "Pringle's handwritten tapes", which were my records put on to a cassette for the journey. John Stephenson shared my catholic taste in music. So when the two of us were there, they'd take the mickey out of us.
So do you own anything by Collins or de Burgh?
[Gravely] I'm afraid not.
What are your desert-island albums then?
I go through phases. I was a really big fan of Lee "Scratch" Perry [legendarily unhinged Jamaican reggae producer, who torched his own studio because it had "a bad vibe"] and early Bob Marley. I would say without a doubt Soul Revolution Pt. 2 by Marley and the Wailers. It was a Jamaican release, vinyl only, very hard to find even then. It's just got fantastic songs on it, really the sound of Kingston at that time and the Wailers starting to get it together. It's from about 1971, before they signed to Island. They were working with Lee Perry.
And the Johnny Burnette trio. He knocks spots off Elvis Presley. They're very rare records from the fifties. Nick Drake's always a great favourite. His stuff has shot up in value. I'd go for his third album, Pink Moon.
And the worst?
Nothing immediately springs to mind. I'm quite open-minded. A few Sweet [seventies glam rock band] things. "Ballroom Blitz" was one I had.
As well as glam rock, you were the right age for punk. Did you ever sport a Mohican?
I didn't get dressed up but I always liked punk music, yeah. But I didn't go the whole hog.
How did collecting fit with playing cricket?
One of the great advantages I have is being a player or a journalist and going to places where a lot of collectors, certainly English and European collectors, can't get to very easily without paying a lot of money - New Zealand, Australia. But eBay's killed all that because everyone can look at the price things are going for at a stroke. That's ruined collecting in a way.
It suited me perfectly: two hours spent in downtown Auckland looking round for a record shop. But they weigh a lot. When I came back from the 1992 World Cup I jettisoned pads, bats I didn't want, all sorts of stuff. Just to get records in.
How big is your collection?
Not huge, but I've got nowhere to keep them. I'd say a couple of thousand LPs and a couple of thousand singles.
CD or vinyl?
[Very slightly annoyed] If you're talking about a record collection, you're talking about records - vinyl. Vinyl replay is the best to my ears.
I went to New York one year in the late eighties. I saw Tower Records, "the world's biggest record store". So I went there and there were hardly any actual records.
Paul Coupar is assistant editor of the Wisden Cricketer. This article was first published in the Wisden Cricketer in 2005
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