a curmudgeons' guide to the recession & 208 Records.


I know, I know. Its tight, money, at the moment. Strict procedures are in place for recovery. (Don’t get me started on that, I warn you..) Never mind the whole flamin' mess was caused by greedy bankers taking cocaine fuelled gambles with OUR money to try & prove their machismo & 'derring-do'. It ain’t them struggling to pay rent or mortgage & put food on the table without the burden of fretting if they will still have a job this time next month. All they worry about is what status symbol they can waste money on to justify their vacuous existence.

Yep, we all know that. So, what are you on about, I am then asked. Well, we set up 208 Records to try & inject some life at the the music end of the music industry. Nothing to do with TV freak shows with half baked nitwits who have never gigged in their life spouting forth about their 'journey'. Nothing to do with trends, development deals, stylists, the next big thing etc.

We set the label up to give a platform & expand the audience of musicians & bands; they don’t have to be on 'the pulse of the nation', whatever that is, just talented gals & blokes, writing & playing their own stuff, being creative, & above all, inspiring & entertaining people.

In order to provide this, we needed financial backing, an assurance from our bank. A business plan was drawn up, the outline of the business was relayed to a man at our branch in a Burton’s suit, (trousers too long, jacket misshapen, I remember), & a financial plan & guarantee were laid. We were in business!! A chance to give REAL musicians the chance, a fair deal, nothing else nothing less.

We were aware that we would not make much in our first year, & that was taken on board by our man in the suit. We knew, we had from Easter 2010, to Easter 2011 to get the right people on board, working with us, in order for our bands to make headway.

We were, in fact, adopting the Free Enterprise spirit so beloved of a previous far-right government. Enough of that though. However, it must be said, our aims were purely artistic, release quality work & make a fair profit, & to develop the business along sensible lines.

So far, so good. Dear reader, you may be an artist signed to the 208 label & ethos, you may have been a purchaser of the excellent work recorded under our banner, or, of course, just a casual observer. Imagine our surprise, during the frozen wastes of January, said bank wrote to us stating that 'owing to the financial restrictions & somewhat limited promise of your business, we are withdrawing your overdraft facilities forthwith...'.

What chance do talented, hard working people not from the privileged few have to promote their work when this happens? The only chance they have been given, was taken away with no notice, a promise of a career at a dead end. I was left with the unenviable job of telephoning two talented, excited young bands, with studio time booked, that this was now not going to happen. Luckily, the musicians accepted the news with class & grace, but this did nothing to make me feel as if I had personally let them down, when in fact, I too was a victim of the whole repugnant system.

“Tax payers money to bail us out for our mistaken gambles motivated by greed & astronomical bonuses?”, “Go ahead, Mr Banker......

“An overdraft facility to start a business to develop the REAL musical talent this country has” “Fuck off mate”

It's all wrong, I tell ya, all wrong”