Tuesday, December 20, 2011


In the summer of 1990 I had the good fortune to spend a day with Tim Alborn, editor of the rather excellent "Incite!" fanzine, who was over in the UK at the time. Back then, his Harriet Records label was a fledgling, a mere three releases old: even now I still have - and treasure - the 7"s by High Risk Group, Fertile Virgin and Linda Smith that I got from Tim that day.

Being a green English boy half way through his A-levels who had never even met a real life American before, I was very impressed not only by these accomplishments but that he had been to school with the likes of Galaxie 500 and Big Dipper; that while in England he'd met the Field Mice and the Carousel; that he liked the Darling Buds, too; that he shared my deep suspicion of what was then the burgeoning "Madchester" scene (believe me, at the time that was teenage heresy). My diary also records rather sweetly that, recently married, he was very much in love.

Anyway, back then none of us could have truly known of the quality that Harriet would continue to deliver over forty-plus releases, and some of the bands it would help introduce to the world (the Magnetic Fields, Tullycraft, the Cannanes, Hulaboy, the Extra Glenns, Crayon, Wimp Factor 14, My Favorite and so many others were to put out singles on Harriet in the 1990s).

Nor could we have dreamed that one day, we would be able to access every single issue of the fabulous Incite! at the click of a button. But technology has *achieved*, meaning that if you scoot over here you can, like us, rediscover and re-read a host of stuff about bands great and good from both sides of the Atlantic, and reflect on the heyday of a nearly-lost art.

Catching up with Tim's current profile, I note that he's had two books published on commerce in nineteenth-century England. I could have done with his impressive knowledge of the Victorian era when it came to those A-levels...

And one day, I fully intend to say more about Harriet Records' greatest hits. But given the speed at which I get round to things (of which Tim is all-too aware), you may well want to start with a summary from the venerable pages of Incite! itself.

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