One of my friends’ lost his brother recently following a short illness. There is little light to be found in these scenarios, as Ian was still a relatively young man. However, my friend, Brian, had mentioned to my partner in passing that Ian had a vast music collection and would I take a look at it. The family’s first instinct was to donate the stacks of vinyl and cds to a charity shop, but he was sure that he had heard me previously mention one of Ian’s favourite bands, namely The Chameleons. At first, I found it hard to believe that someone living locally would be a committed Chams’ fan as surely I would have met, or at least heard of them? Sadly, not the case.
Anyway, my friend popped around the other night armed with a bottle of Jack Daniels’, a silver metal case jam-packed with cds, a couple of posters and various other bits of memorabilia, staggeringly, all by The Chameleons and their various offshoots. In truth, I was gobsmacked; Ian had compiled a comprehensive collection and had clearly followed each and virtually every side-project that had splintered from the original line-up throughout The Chameleons chequered history. Now, as a die-hard fan, I thought I knew my stuff, but crikey; the silver case includes numerous live recordings and releases by The Reegs, The Sun and the Moon, Weaveworld and various Mark Burgess incarnations that had passed me by way back then.
With the consent of Ian’s family, we have decided to offer the collection for sale with a view to raising money for the Friends of Bath RUH (Royal United Hospital); Bath RUH looked after Ian during the closing chapters of his life so the charity is a fitting recipient of any funds raised. So, on a freezing cold Sunday afternoon watching the footie, I compiled a spreadsheet of Ian’s collection adding guide prices based on figures gleaned from the renowned Discogs website. We have endeavoured to be realistic, but even allowing for our conservative estimates, the collection is worth in excess of a thousand pounds.
I have been listening to many of these cds and it has reminded me of just why The Chameleons command such a loyal following; the shimmering brilliance of the original studio albums; the delicate lyrics, heavenly melodies and relentless backline; live, a powerhouse of a band driven by John Lever’s thunderous drumming and interweaving guitar riffs. Add to this Reg’s unique artwork, the tales of skulduggery with a raft of record labels and the inevitable personality clashes for which the band are considered somewhat legendary, and we have all the ingredients for The Chameleons almost mythical place in music folklore. Of course, the debates rumble on, but Ian was a fan of all the various entities and attended gigs by both the original line-up and the Vox’, as proved by a couple of ticket stubs we discovered tucked snuggly away in the silver case.
Anyway, I hope this piece provides the back-story to why we are offering the collection for sale via The Chameleons Vox fan club Facebook page. I am deeply indebted to the support of the fan club for helping publicise this deeply emotional project and I just hope that we can collectively celebrate the memory of one of The Chameleons most dedicated fans. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require any further information about the collection.
Anyone interested in receiving a copy of the spreadsheet and guide prices, please use firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07793 293 417.