Not too long ago, JC over at the excellent New Vinyl Villain wrote about Product 2378, a Telstar Records indie complilation album from 1990. It was a typically good post about a truly excellent compilation, but JC rightly asked a lot of questions about it, notably how Telstar managed to assemble such an excellent selection of tracks in the first place, how they managed to release it given the paucity of their normal output and, most of all, what the hell was going on with the sleeve art?
Now I had a copy of Product 2378 on cassette, inevitably plucked from the Woolworths bargain bin for 99p. If you've read the track listing on JC's blog post you'll know that was quite a bargain. But still, about that sleeve art. It's always bothered me too.
And then, last week, it all came together for me. Someone, somewhere at Telstar, was a real indie kid. Take the sleeve art from The Chesterfield's 1987 debut album, Kettle:
...add the polychromatic effects (and palette) briefly fashionable following the success of New Order's 1989 album Technique:
...and you get the sleeve for Product 2378.
c + no = p (perhaps) or t(k)=2378 (perhaps not). Feel sorry for me, because this is the sort of thing that pushes my buttons.
Still none the wiser on that title though. Unless "PRODUCT 2378" was supposed to evoke the FAC and FACT numbers of Factory Records output. FACT 250 was Joy Division's Substance, for example. I know, it's not much of a theory but it's the best I've got, and in my mind, at least, fits nicely with the idea of that lone indie kid at Telstar being told to go away and come up with something...