Buses and Compilations

Sarah Records unequivocally supports a fully integrated light rail rapid-transit system for the Greater Bristol area.

[message scratched in the run-off groove of the Glass Arcade compilation]

Of course we did. But, while we were waiting for that to happen, it never hurt to remind people of the importance of a comprehensive and affordable local bus service, which is why each 7″ single in the sequence SARAH 71 to SARAH 80 features on its centre label a photo of the bus whose route matches the catalogue number. We’d actually wanted to do this for some time, but been thwarted by Cityline’s refusal to schedule an unbroken run of ten numbers. Then route 79 was introduced by another operator. Cityline already ran routes 71 to 78 and 80, so we now had all we needed. Turning a blind eye to the fact that the 79 followed the same route as the 80, just two minutes earlier, and was clearly just a Capitalist spoiler rather than a social provision – I know, it’s crazy, isn’t it, almost like bus privatisation wasn’t carried out to improve the lot of the passengers? – we photographed each bus twice, once in close up and once in long shot. Here, for instance, is SARAH 75, featuring the 75 to Hartcliffe (Bishport Avenue) as it makes its way down East Street in Bedminster. This was, incidentally, also the only time the pressing plant ever sent us a note saying how much they liked our labels. I don’t know what they had against the others. Or maybe they were just busy.

Labels of Sarah 75

Our compilations, meanwhile, are numbered after the bus route that serves the place the compilation is named after, as we explained in There And Back Again Lane:

Sarah compilations explanation

This also, of course, explains why the non-compilation LPs have catalogue numbers starting with either a 4 or a 6: when we released the first ones, we obviously didn’t know what compilations we might come up with later, but we did know that none of Badgerline’s buses had route numbers higher than 399, and that all Cityline’s three-digit services – the commercially unviable evening and weekend ones that were sponsored by Avon County Council – had an extra 5 or 50 at the front (e.g. the daytime 30 past Gaol Ferry Bridge became a 530 in the evening… and was also 3p cheaper for a single). In other words, it was safe to choose catalogue numbers starting with a 4 or a 6 for the regular 10″ and 12″ LPs as there’d be no risk of confusion. And then, for some reason, Badgerline numbered the bus to Engine Common 628, and we felt really stupid.

Our T-shirts were obviously numbered 701 onwards for similar reasons, i.e. so that no one would get them muddled with a bus, but please don’t get us started on T-shirts.