There was a time back in the day when we could obtain music on a host of different formats: CD, vinyl, pre-recorded cassette, MiniDisc, even DAT. And if you knew where to look, you could still find old 78s and 8-tracks.
But there's one more format that has to be added to that list: the flexi.
Flexi-discs were thin pieces of plastic that were often found in the pages of magazines and books. It was the physical equivalent of today's "free download with this isssue" promotion. You had to carefully remove it (so it wouldn't tear) and place it on your turntable. Because they were so delicate, you might be able to get 25 plays out of the thing before it disintegrated.
Lots of acts promoted themselves through flexis, including Joy Division and my favourite, Billy and the Boingers. (Yep, I'm a huge Bloom County fan.)
The last flexi manufacturer closed its doors in 2000, but recently, there's been a resurrection of the format. A metal magazine called Decibel started issuing flexis last year. And now we have the inevitable Flexi of the Month Club.
For $24 USD a year, you'll get a new release every month from an up-and-coming band. (Shades of the Sub Pop Singles Club, Batman!) And because each run will be limited to 250 copies, there is collector's item potential here.
Check out the video which explains the importance of Polish postcards in this whole thing.
Got that? Now enjoy some Billy and the Boingers.