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Illustrations by Mr Angelo Trofa

Being a music buff may look easy to the common observer - after all, what could possibly be challenging about going to a few gigs and spinning the odd record? Pah! These people know little of the blood, sweat and learning of rare B-sides that goes into being a serious musical connoisseur. To reach the peaks of music fandom can feel like a full-time job, involving hours of research, relentless one-upmanship and a delicate relationship with your own sanity. But then, nobody ever said being a music fan was supposed to be fun, right?

There's no point telling everyone about the new Frank Ocean album when everyone else has already moved on to raving over Miguel. As with Olympic events or making wisecracks on Twitter, being first is everything in this game.

If music buffery is your world then consider obscurity your currency. Nobody will be impressed by your suggestion to go seek out Abbey Road. A Transylvanian trip-hop collective that only formed last Wednesday, however...

Have you just rhapsodised about Justin Timberlake's excellent hip-hop productions only to be met with sniggers and "You mean Timbaland, right?" You could, of course, admit that you're clueless. Then again you could just shrug and say "Maybe you never heard those tracks..." before walking away, very quickly.

Frank Zappa is perhaps the only pop musician to have had an asteroid named after him: 3834 Zappafrank

Nas' intro to classic hip-hop track "NY State of Mind" - "I don't know how to start this" - was actually a mistake that ended up getting left in the finished version

Producer Bob Ezrin achieved the crying effect on Lou Reed's "The Kids" by telling his own children that their mother had died

While recording the ground-breaking What's Going On album, Marvin Gaye kept his thoughts political by allegedly masturbating for long periods between sessions

The reason Sly Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On has such a muddy, lo-fi sound is because the funk legend had to keep recording over the tapes after promising girls they could sing backing vocals

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