Civil Society Diary: Oxfam marks World Record Store Day by going full hipster

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“Just get a Spotify subscription I reckon, lads”

Happy Friday dear readers. Diary would like to draw your attention to the news that a small baby boy was given a name in North London today and, for some reason, the BBC are reporting it. What’s going on there?

This week in charity sector satire: Oxfam goes full ‘yer da’ and gets bang into vinyl for Record Store Day, some more quality viral dog content, this time courtesy of Macmillan, and some alternative suggestions for Andrew O’Brien’s twitter handle.

Like a broken record

Last Saturday was World Record Store Day. The one day of the year when over 200 independent record shops all across the UK come together to “celebrate their unique culture” and release special one off records, and just generally bring together millennial snowflakes and baby boomer gammons alike in a celebration of an utterly redundant technology.

This year Oxfam has jumped on the WRSD bandwagon. According to a press release, its “online vinyl sales have reached a record high” this year which really just begs the question why the people buying the vinyl records online didn’t just cut out the middle man and purchase the music online in the first place.

Anyway, the charity saw a 55 per cent increase in sales for records bought from the Oxfam Online Shop for 2017/18 compared to the previous year, with what it called “classic albums being the most popular choice for shoppers”.

Oh you better believe there’s a list, and you better believe it reads like a rollcall at the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. You’ve got The Beatles, you’ve got big Bob Dylan. You’ve also got your David Bowies, your Pink Floyds. Where’s Elvis? Oh, don’t worry, he’s there.

This digital fire sale of ostensibly obsolete discs raised “nearly £100,000” for Oxfam on the day.

Andrew Horton, trading director at Oxfam, said: “We’re really grateful to the public who have kindly donated so much fantastic vinyl and helped us raise so much money for our life-saving work. Ten pounds spent on a record is enough for us to get safe, clean water to a family in a humanitarian emergency.

“But we’re struggling to keep up with the level of demand, and our shops are urgently asking for donations of vinyl so they can keep raising vital funds.”

Struggling for demand! This column knows full well that fashions are cyclical but still can’t quite wrap its head around the modern obsession with vinyl records.

Having said that, maybe the only thing that can save this country from the impending culture wars – battle lines drawn deeply between the home-owning, pension-drawing, debt-unburdened, EU-hating Boomers and the perennially renting, minimum-wage earning, debt-ridden, EU-loving Millennials. Blood in the streets and gammon on the air – is the shared love of vinyl between the two groups.

Put down your copies of the Daily Mail and The Guardian! Put down your pitchforks, your axes, your Blue Passports and your avocados! Just pick up a limited 12-inch edition reissue of Diamond Dogs on 12-inch instead.

Dog-gone cute

To Instagram now, and a new feature that Macmillan Cancer Support are calling #MacmillanPets. As far as this column can tell, it’s just an excuse for the charity to pump out weekly pictures of dogs dressed up in Macmillan-branded stuff.

Diary’s not sure about you dear readers, but it is most definitely here for that kind of content.



Meet Bertie, an 8-year-old “cockapoo” who lives with Sarah, a Macmillan staff members. Cute!

“He doesn’t woof, but howls when he hears an ambulance,” arguably unnecessary information, but we’re still here. Still reading. Still enjoying. “He loves cuddles and human company, and would do anything for food”. Diary agrees on all those points.

“Here he is looking gorgeous at the Monument cheering point (mile 23) supporting Team Macmillan at the London marathon 2018”.


Diary frankly can’t wait for the next #MacmillanPets feature. Canine content is very much in dogue at the minute…

You can’t HANDLE the truth!

Andrew O’Brien, previously a big cheese at the Charity Finance Group, and friend to this column, is moving on to Social Enterprise UK, where he will become an even bigger cheese.

Diary wishes him much luck in his endeavours. But we must respectfully join in the discussion about what his new Twitter handle will be.

Nowadays it’s pretty fashionable to stick the name of your organisation in your handle, to signify you’re doing important work things, and he is now @CFG_OBrien, having previously been @NCVO_OBrien.

Yes, we hear. It doesn’t take an absolute genius to work out what’s coming next. But rather than stick with convention, Diary rather hopes Andrew will branch out.

We quite hope he’ll combine his initials with those of his new employer, and become Seukaob, because this sounds pleasingly like an Old Testament prophet, and will lend weighty gravitas to his pronouncements. “And lo, Seukaob came out from the Fire Station, and did speak to the asset locked, and he said that blessed are those who spend properly on core costs, but accursed are they who take a contract without full cost recovery”.

Come to think of it, perhaps that’s what we’ll do in future anyway.

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