I recently got back from a weekend holiday to Sydney where, in addition to doing a whole lot of touristy stuff, I also got to re-visit Utopia Records.
No idea what they sell in there.
Utopia Records, as you can see, is the sort of record store that very subtly hints at what it’s about before you walk in. And being a Melbournoid, I must confess that I’ve only been there once before, during the previous Iron Maiden Australian Tour. I’d flown up with a mate to catch the Sydney concert and after seeing a full page in the local street press that said words to the effect of “Utopia Records fukken owns Maiden” or something like that we just had to go. It turns out they’d crammed the place with Iron Maiden merch and apparently the Iron Maiden discography was being played in chronological order. It was absolutely wonderful and the only thing that prevented me from staying and genuinely wanting to be there was the incredible tiredness of a stupid o’clock early morning Tiger Airways flight (also, I will never forgive Tiger for severely telling us off and refusing to let us take photos when, as we stumbled onto the tarmac, we suddenly spotted Ed Force One, the Iron Maiden jet flown by Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson himself, standing right there in front of us — but that’s another story).
This time my visit there was more sedate. There was no Iron Maiden special but I did grab some CDs, an Iron Maiden keyring (of course), and several heavy metal patches.
Music-wise I bought two albums. The first was Gwar: Scumdogs Of The Universe. I firmly believe it’s a real gem of a ’90s metal album from a band that, once you remove the funny costumes and rubber masks and wacky back-story, is actually a very underrated heavy metal band. In this case I finally got a CD version of the album I played countless times as a kid, that album originally being a scratchy copy of a pirated Bulgarian cassette tape (true story — even the label was mistyped “Scumdocs Of The Universe”).
The second was a much hyped album by a band called Nails, titled Abandon All Life. Fawned over by a Terrorizer magazine reviewer who gave it the full five stars, this is one hard as hell release that’s heavier than the backlash from a French nuclear test in the Pacific, despite being just 17 minutes long. It ain’t bad, although it’s not quite as face-meltingly heavy as I thought it might be.
I also bought three patches, of which Utopia Records has a pretty good selection.
These were of course destined for my mostly Iron Maiden-themed heavy metal battle jacket. And you know, Id’ be lying if I said I didn’t get at least a small kick out of the many compliments directed at me when I wear this jacket — although I draw the line when dudes looking at it in admiration want to shake my hand while I’m at the urinal (’nother true story).
Heavy metal patches. The best kind of patches.
So now I’ve got three more heavy metal patches to add and I’m starting to run out of space. To quote Krusty the Clown when faced with the prospect of having nowhere left to apply more nicotine patches: “I think there's still a spot on my butt.”
Even so, there’s always room for one more, as the saying goes. Instead, more worrying is the problem of keeping track of each individual patch. And by that I mean, you sometimes lose track of which ones you already own! In this case I inadvertently ended up with two version of the Powerslave patch!
That's because I'm twice the fan.
Oh well. The fact that I had to get the same patch twice just shows what a super-devoted fan I am.