Semaphore Record Fair – Gems on Sale

The Semaphore Jetty looking east towards Semaphore Shops and St Bede’s

The weather for the Semaphore Record Fair was cool and cloudy.  There was little wind and no rain to disturb the picnic atmosphere of those record sellers outside the confines of St Bede’s hall.  Inside the hallowed walls it was busy from well before starting time at 9:00 am up until precisely 12:59, at which time, everyone seemed to go home for lunch and spend the afternoon watching the footy on TV.  And good luck to them.

It was a day of uneven achievements generally but with some light and juicy highlights.  Sales had been hard and fast in the first hour with many excellent albums purchased by various punters and loyal customers.  Given this interest, expectations became inflated at least temporarily.

The story unfolds.  One punter, armed with a well-thumbed notebook, a list and a laptop methodically searched the 2000 or so albums on sale at White Elephant.  A person with a list is always a good sign.  He arranged his search from Z to A, picking out his one and only purchase in the S’s – The SweetDesolation Boulevard, the group’s best-selling album in 1974, featuring Fox on the Run.  His partner, searching haphazardly, coyly selected Leif Garrett’s self titled debut album from 1977.  Two gems!  But alas she was warned off introducing Leif Garrett into the family home as it could, in all likelihood, disrupt the domestic karma and render the family stereo dysfunctional.  Needless to say, Leif stayed in the racks and The Sweet departed in triumph.

But all was not lost. Another rollicking punter, regretting the passing of 50 years, had a fierce desire to return to those happy teen years and quickly selected a ‘rare’ copy of Shaun Cassidy’s debut 1976 album.  Feeling on a winner I pointed out the Leif Garrett album which was snatched up with considerable glee, and off to a happy home.  “Every one’s a winner baby….”  There is just something about those mid 1970s albums.  They either languish in the crates or go off like hot cakes.

Overall sales were good and I thank my loyal customers for parting with their hard earned cash in exchange for some gems.

So with the departure of the majority of the buying public after lunch there was plenty of time to check out the prospects from other sellers.  There were some excellent buys to be had for excellent prices.  Have a look at these beauties.


Jimi Hendrix Experience Boxset 4CD (Reissue 2013)

Nick Drake Boxset  – Tuck Box – 5CD (Issue 2013)

Stevie Wonder – At the close of a century Boxset – 4CD (1999)

Rolling Stones – From the Vault – LA Forum 1975 [Digipac] 2CD/DVD (2014)

Prince – The Hits / The B-Sides 3CD (1993)

The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions Deluxe 2CD Edition [Digipac] (2000)

Billy Thorpe – Tangier (2010)

Silverchair – Young Modern Deluxe edition [Digipac] CD/DVD (2007)

Blur – Modern Life is Rubbish CD (1993)

The Whitlams – Little Cloud + The Apple’s Eye 2CD [Digipac] (2006)

The Living End – White Noise – CD/DVD [Digipac] (2008)

David Bowie – The Next Day CD [Digipac] (2013)

John Lennon – Wonsaponatime CD [Digipac] (1998)

Sonny & Cher – I got you babe LP [mono] (1965)

And others including – The Chemical Brothers, Placebo, Chuck Berry & Traffic.


There is always a good amount of jollity and fun when unpacking and packing at the start and the end of the day.  At the start it is anticipation of sales and the possibility of finding the long lost gem.  Perhaps the end of the day is better because hopefully the crates weight less, even if only slightly reduced, and that depends also upon your own purchases.  Looking back at the end of the day at Semaphore this time we seemed eager to kick off shortly after 3:30, to get home before the rain, to unpack, sort the stock and put our feet up.  Well there is no denying it the sellers are an ageing breed and the crates of records still weigh as much as they did ten years ago.  But all in all it was a very good day.  Gems galore!

Louise and her parishioners looked after the punters and sellers extremely well with hot pies, pasties, coffee and tea, and delicious home-made cakes.  The report from the canteen is that “we made as small profit.”  We hope so.

Thanks again to Mr V for setting up the fair and his silent partner Mr Harry Butler, presiding over his books on the back stage.  We will see you all at the Music Palooza Fair on 22/23 July at Plant # 1 Bowden.  May the Force be with you.

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