There are so many petty irritations in life: finding that a bird has emptied itself on my parked car; emptying my own bowels before realising that my kids have used the last of the toilet roll; TV programmes that feel the need to constantly recap what I have just seen (I'm not a bleedin' goldfish - I can retain information long enough to follow Dickinson's Real Deal unaided!); people who think the eighth letter of the alphabet is pronounced 'haitch' and those who think 'mischievous' is pronounced mis-cheev-ee-ous (where the hell are you getting that extra ee sound from?).... I could go on, and very often do, but by far my biggest gripe is when I buy an LP and find that a previous owner has decided to festoon the sleeve with yards of sticky tape in some deranged attempt to protect it from damage. Guess what dickhead, you just damaged it!
If this sleeve vandalism pisses me off so much, why would I buy an album that's been modified in such a way? Well, I wouldn't knowingly, but some ebay sellers don't feel the need to mention this particular modification in their descriptions. My National Head Band LP came with a particularly unpleasant brown packing tape adorning every straight edge. The tape's sufficiently ancient to be drying up and lifting in some places whilst clinging on like a treacle-oozing limpet in others. Do I attempt to remove it or put up with this unsightly, sticky mess? No question: it's got to go!
In my experience this form of sleeve trashing is peculiar to records from the 1970s, and I have a hunch that the people who perpetrated this crime are the same ones who felt the need to cover their school text books and jotters with wallpaper during that decade. It's entirely possible that you have no idea what I'm talking about, but I can't believe that I'm the only one with memories of kids at school who got out the sellotape and whatever old scrap of wrapping paper they could cadge off their mums to fashion a bespoke dust jacket for their copy of Stig of the Dump. Maybe sellotape (Scotch tape if you're from over there) was a bit of a novelty in the Seventies and nobody knew when to leave it alone. If you're really unlucky, you might pick up an LP where someone's gone mad with the Dymo label machine, punched out their name on one of those little sticky plastic strips and stuck it to the sleeve. That little bugger ain't coming off!