Championship Vinyl

This past Friday, Christmas came early for record lovers. While other folks were trampling each other for Chinese flat-screen televisions at Best Buy, the scene was a little more genial at indie record shops across North America.

This year’s Black Friday special releases covered virtually the entire spectrum of modern music, from indie rock to hip-hop to 60’s psychedelia to jazz greats to (god help us) Dave Matthews Band. Even the impeccably weird John Malkovich got in on the action, lending his vocal stylings to an album of other artists’ music.

My local store opened their doors at 10 am. I was tied up at work – and frankly I’m crowd-averse anyway – so I wasn’t there for the initial surge of thirty hard-core vinyl freaks. But I did manage to sneak out of work a little early, so off I went to shop for new ‘friends’ on vinyl.

I really wanted a copy of the new Beck single “Dreams”, but the shopkeeper said they didn’t receive any copies from their American suppliers. I had a look at the new Zombies live recording from their BBC appearances, but it contained hardly any tracks from their landmark Odessey and Oracle album so I let it be. And while I was intrigued by seeing Green Day’s American Idiot on vinyl, $55 was a little too steep for me.

As you can see, I didn’t exactly come away empty-handed. I did snag myself a newly re-issued copy of the High Fidelity soundtrack on double orange vinyl – surely Barry Jive of Championship Vinyl would approve.  And I managed to grab a copy of my most anticipated Black Friday 2015 release – the new Spoon 10″ with their rambunctious cover of “TV Set” by the Cramps. On hot pink vinyl, no less!

The store also had their regular stock on sale for 20% off. I gratefully picked up the new Wilco, Mew, and Mercury Rev albums. Grabbed the full six LP version of Ryan Adams’ Carnegie Hall gigs somewhat on impulse, after enjoying the single LP version way more than I expected to. Scored two Eels re-releases on vinyl to ensure I won’t soon run out of bummer-rock music. And after some digging thru the vaunted “audiophile” crate, I unearthed 180g reissues of two ace Manic Street Preachers records. All in all, it was a good haul.

But at what point does a hobby become an obsession? Is it when you buy 12 records in one week? It’s probably a good idea for me to put a moratorium on new purchases until after Christmas, lest I become the sad vinyl-collecting version of the Crazy Cat Lady 🙂

Hope you also made it out there this weekend to support your local record store. If not, see you there in April for RSD 2016!

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Turn, Turn, Turn

No time for a summer friend,
No time for the love you send, 
Seasons change and so did I,
You need not wonder why

– The Guess Who, “No Time”, 1970

Well, hello!  Long time, no chat. I apologize for falling off the blogging map. Real life has naggingly intervened. I’ve been super-busy with my day job as an engineer with a small (but thankfully progressive) local firm. Summer evenings and weekends have been pre-occupied with landscaping my tiny expanse of a yard. Occasionally, I was simply lost in thought. But tonight, I’m feeling up to blogging again. So, here we go.

It’s the first day of November. I marked the occasion by going for a 10 km walk around town. It’s an excellent opportunity to organize my thoughts and get a little exercise. When I go walking, I always have earphones in my ears and my trusty iPhone in my pocket, shuffling tunes from my 6200-song library. (I really should pare it down some… but how can you prune your best friends?)

Do you ever get the sense that your MP3 player is spying on you? Today, even though I was simply playing songs at “random” while my GPS fitness app logged the miles underfoot, the music was almost entirely autumnal and solemn. Songs by Eels, the Decemberists, and Elbow dominated the “random” mix. I hadn’t heard Split Enz’s “Stuff and Nonsense” in years. It’s almost as though my phone checked out my local weather forecast, read my pulse, sensed my emotional state, and chose a playlist accordingly.

Tonight, I’m back at home in the man-cave, doing my best to unwind before facing the tribulations of another work week. I’m lucky that I live near enough to my office (about 4.5 km) that I can occasionally walk or bike instead of drive. Not so long ago, my iPhone played another trick on me. As I was walking past the bird sanctuary around 7:00 am on my way to the office, the “random” playlist conjured up a song by The Byrds. I only have about 3 Byrds songs in my entire library, so this was quite the coincidence. Made me chuckle, anyway. But then, on my way home that same evening, one of the other Byrds songs worked their way into the playlist, just as I was sashaying past the same bird sanctuary. Coincidence?  Not likely!

So Apple is spying on me. In a good way, mind you.

Anyway, I would like to report that I’ve learned a lot this summer. About myself, about engineering, about landscaping, about my friends and family, about forging one’s path in an indifferent world. It’s been quite the experience, but now there’s a chill in the air and a stray snowflake or three. The seasons changed, and so did I.

And with that, I bid you adieu for another evening. I promise I won’t leave you hanging so long between posts next time.