Mike Oldfield: Kerching! and memories of the early Virgin records

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. The Mail on Sunday are giving away a free CD of the original Tubular Bells this week. I seem to remember reading a comment by Jonathan King that the composer/performer of these CDs gets circa £1 million from this sort of issue. So it is nice to know that the old multi-instrumentalist won’t have to check around the cushions of his sofa for odd coopers for the forseeable future. What a shame Viv ‘slightly distorted’ Stanshall isn’t alive to enjoy some of the proceeds!

I don’t often listen to Bells in its entirety these days. A few months ago, however, I was delayed in traffic going to Heathrow and put it on. I listened to side one without moving forward in the traffic jam! It was great to hear it again and the Viv Stanshall-narrated piece certainly stood out as the apotheosis of the work.

The Mail on Sunday CD business is all a long way from the day when my brother bought one of the first copies of Tubular Bells. That was in the days when Virgin Records was a direct mail record company which advertised in Melody Maker and NME. I can remember the adverts which listed all their records with the numbers of the albums. I used to be able to recite the first ten Virgin records.

But the years have taken their toll on my memory and I cannot find a list on the web. I remember that Tubular Bells was the first release and had the number 001. I am not sure if there was a prefix like “V” or “VS”. Tangerine Dream with “Phaedra” were certainly in the first ten, and may even have been number three (?). I am a bit misty on the others. I think Captain Beefheart was perhaps number two. Henry Cow? Faust? I think they were in there somewhere. Any ideas from those with better memories than me?

Sun: Woolmer was poisoned

The BBC reports that “The inquest into the death of Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer has been postponed because of “significant developments” in the case.”

The “significant developments” are not explained officially. However, the Sun quotes a “senior police source” as saying:

The toxicology tests show that he had significant traces of aconite. We are now entirely convinced he was poisoned. The fact that aconite has also previously been used in Pakistan may also be highly relevant.

West Berkshire Tories rattled

It seems that West Berkshire Conservatives are somewhat rattled and not confident of how they will fare on May 3rd. This is from the Newbury Weekly News this week:

Laszlo Zverko (Westwood), the Tory who now controls the council’s finances, thinks that the make-up of the council could be sealed by a single family in next month’s vote. “The Lib Dems are giving an awful lot of attention to this ward,” he said. “Because of the tiny majority, one husband and wife voting one way or the other could shift the whole balance of power in the ward and potentially the whole council.” It’s squeaky bum time, clearly. (Herodatus – NWN – 19th April 2007).