Tag Archives: vinyl

I Love Record Store Day

I’d already waited in line for thirty minutes, thinking I would be first if I showed up an hour before the store opened. I was wrong. There were a good number of people ahead and the store was around the corner. But come on, how many could possibly be looking for The Beach Boys’ album, right? I mean, record store day is about the indie music…isn’t it?

The doors opened at ten, a full hour before their usual time, and by eleven I was finally at the door. Eleven fifteen finds me released into the crowded den full of hipsters and gross unshowered balding men with combovers, and as I approached the wall dedicated to record store day releases, I saw the royal blue cover, golden rays shining from the words, The Beach Boys in that hard-to-miss 60s font. As I closed in someone snatched it practically from under my nose, and here I am in line, waiting to purchase the runners-up on my list of top ten special releases. Peter, Bjorn a John, not a band to ignore. Of Montreal, only a thousand pressed. New Pornographers. Decemberists. But the prize, the number one on my list, The Beach Boys including the songs Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains, an early and alternate take, respectively, my only chance to hear them on vinyl, gone. I tried to hide my dissatisfaction with the day, my disappointment, and I noticed the register girl was the one who always remembered me, knew my music tastes with such perfection that I would blindly buy a record based on her recommendation without even listening to a single song.

“Hey! You made it!” she said to me with her usual winning smile, and I tried to smile back, but the most I could muster was a half-hearted grin.

It was my turn, and she took my records and looked through. She flipped through a second time and reached under the counter.

“Looks like you’re missing one…” she said as she produced a copy of The Beach Boys album, my holy grail for the day. My half-hearted grin turned genuine in a heartbeat. “You want it?”

I nodded, speechless as she rang up my total and I handed her my card without even looking at the price. Who cares, right? It’s record store day.

As I walked toward the door I looked in my bag and once more saw the golden rays shine at me, and I smiled. A quick look at the register and she waved goodbye to me with a huge smile before she took the next person in line.

I love record store day.

Advertisements

Imagine

“That was an amazing exhibit.”

“Oh trust me, I remember,” he said as he changed his Facebook status to one simple word, Imagine.

“Found it!” she said as she pulled the record Double Fantasy out of his collection and brought it to the turntable.

“Good job. Remember the wish trees?”

They were thinking back to an art exhibit they’d seen in Montreal that was a tribute to John and Yoko.

“I loved them. What was your wish again?”

He looked away from her.

“It’s fine, you don’t have to admit it. But I know it was me.”

“Yeah yeah,” he tried to dismiss that part of the conversation.

“We actually were IN the bed of the famous sleep in.”

“I know, it was impressive. I think my favorite was how interactive the exhibit was. How they invited everyone to take part, like how we could hammer a nail to the wall.”

“And all those stamps that said imagine peace in multiple languages?”

“You just had to find the French one, then we stamped your hand with it and took photographs of your hand all over Montreal.”

She sat on the couch next to him and snuggled up. “They were airing all of her home movies of the two of them.”

“The whole wall of War is Over signs was pretty neat too.”

“Agreed. I wish we could go back and do it again.”

“Well, we could totally go to Montreal. But the exhibit is long gone.”

“I know.”

The record continued to play in the background and she looked at him.

“This is a perfect way to spend his birthday, listening to his records with someone I love.”

“Agreed,” he said as he put his arm around her.

La Nuit Française

“I’ve never seen a balloon cause so much trouble!”

“I know, right?” she said to me.

We had just finished watching the 1956 French classic Le Balloon Rouge, or The Red Balloon.

“That kid got into so much trouble!” she said. I nodded. “How did you know there was so little dialogue?”

“Someone told me.” I had come up with the idea of creating our own soundtrack to it, side two of Françoise Hardy’s Maid in Paris, then side one of the Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin record.

“It made it more fun, didn’t it?”

“Oui!”

“Dork.”

She fell back onto the couch and started staring at the ceiling. “I’m glad we didn’t sell them.”

“Even though we could use the money.”

“Money can’t replace the beauty of those records.”

Someone had just offered me a shit-ton of money for my collection of record française. Yeah right, like I would part with them.

“Yeah right, like I would part with them. I lugged half of them all the way across Montreal, and most of the others, I left clothing behind in Paris for those. They are definitely worth more than money to me.”

“Me too. They’re half the reason I liked you at first.”

“Very funny.”

“Fine, that’s a lie, but on the first date it is how you lured me back to your place. French records, a little wine, you sure know how to make a girl melt.”

“You’d be surprised how often that line works. I have a nice collection of French records at my place…”

“Nice.” She frowned. “Wait, you are kidding, right?”

“Of course. I’ve never shared these records with another woman.” She looked at me. “What?”

“Never?
I thought about it and decided to come clean. “Fine, fine, I have tried. None of them appreciated them.”

“Not as much as me, right?” she said, grabbing my arm and pulling me into her arms.

“Nope!” I said as I kissed her. We made out for a bit until the needle started scratching against nothing, then returned to its arm rest.

“Should I flip it?” she asked. “Or should we maybe watch the movie again with the real audio, just to see if the effect is different?”

I smiled and picked up the remote to start the movie again. The balloon once again floated down to the little boy and I laughed as he was once again told he could not bring it on the bus, thus being late for school again.

“I’ve never seen a balloon cause so much trouble.”

A Perfect Sunday

As he sat in his moon chair listening to the rain he realized what a perfect Sunday it was.

Peaceful.

Relaxing.

He felt the excited/trapped feeling people get sometimes in storms. Moments like this had been his favorite since he was a child.

It was nearly perfect, but something was missing. As soon as he recognized what else the day called for, he ran to his record collection, moved a lamp close by so he could read them in the cloudy darkness, and pulled out all four of his Smiths records. He put one on, turned the sound down to a three, and returned to the moon chair just as A Rush and A Push and the Land is Ours started up on the player.

Perfection.

Who is Your Favorite Muppet?

“Who is your favorite Muppet?”

She looked up from the puzzle they were working on, a large version of The Great Muppet Caper movie poster. She had what looked like Gonzo’s nose in her hand.

“Come on, you don’t know this one?” she responded with a sly smile.

He laughed. “It’s probably Miss Piggy.”

She shifted in her seat. “Ew. Miss Piggy isn’t anyone’s favorite.”

“When we were little and played Muppets, we always made my cousin Miss Piggy because she would get mad.”

“You’re sick. Wait, how did you play Muppets?”

He laughed. “You can’t really. It was mostly just to piss her off. I don’t think we ever even really played. She usually ran off and told on us, and then we’d get yelled at and forget the game.”

She found the rest of Gonzo in the many little islands of puzzle they’d completed and pushed it into its spot.

“Victory!”

“Are you going to say that every time you get two pieces to fit?”

“Mhmm,” she said as she stuck her tongue out at him.

At that point, the record they were listening to stopped and he got up to flip it.

“I love you,” she said. He stopped and looked at her, wondering where that came from. “What? I do. Only you could get me to sit here and talk about Muppets while we put together a Muppet puzzle and listen to The Muppet Movie soundtrack on vinyl. Where did I find you?”

He laughed as he flipped the record, hit start and returned to his spot, picking up a loose piece and staring at the little islands again.

“You didn’t answer me. Where did I find you?”

“You didn’t answer me either about your favorite Muppet. You found me at a coffee shop. I was too adorable to resist. Now answer me.”

“No.”

He looked up from his work and started laughing.

“Answer!”

“NO!”

He put on his serious face and she looked away. Finally she answered.

“Miss Piggy.”

And Adore Her He Did (flash nonfiction)

Based on a true story.

The date had been great so far, and he was nervous when he suggested they head to his place to listen to records, but he knew his intentions were fairly innocent.  She accepted following some hesitation, and after a quick tour of the downstairs they sat on opposite sides of his plaid couch, chatting as the album Colours by Claudine Longet played.

They talked about all kinds of things people talk about when getting to know one another, and as the conversation continued, the record ended and he flipped it and returned to her.

It wasn’t until he’d switched to Donovan’s Greatest Hits, a few albums later, that he noticed that every time he got up to switch the record, she nonchalantly inched a bit closer to his side.  Once he realized this, his heart sped up a bit, but  started returning to the couch a bit closer as well, until their knees were touching during “God Help the Girl” by Stuart Murdoch.

It wasn’t until Astrud Gilberto’s “The Shadow of Your Smile” that her finger poked his hand playfully, and he opened it, inviting hers in.  She smiled, looked at him with her big, greenish-brown eyes, and their fingers intertwined as she rested her head onto his shoulder.

They talked about music, life, everything, as the needle played beautiful music into the air, and she pushed into him a little more, making the butterflies explode in his chest.  He put his arm around her and held her a little tighter as they discussed exes, quirks and other oddities that naturally came up in conversation.

The record stopped, and he didn’t want to get up this time.  He enjoyed having this girl in his arms, and she squeezed him, subtly telling him not to get up, but he wanted to put on one more record.  She’d mentioned a certain someone she liked, and so he felt it was his obligation to play it for her, to show her that he not only listened to what she said, but that he valued it.

“I really don’t want to get up, but we need more music,” he said as she gave him a sad look but released him from her hold.  He walked over to the shelf and searched for the one he was looking for, found it, and before she knew it the needle was lowering onto the vinyl and he was returning to his original position on the couch.

The song “Come Dance With Me” started and she smiled, recognizing his attempt to impress her by playing The Best of Frank Sinatra, and she held him a little tighter.  He felt that enlightened feeling boys get sometimes when they know they impressed a girl they like, and they talked and cuddled a bit more as the needle slowly made its way across the record to the last song, “Put Your Dreams Away,” at which point he made to get up, she sat up, and he kissed her.  Their first kiss, as the lyrics played, “Let your kiss confess this happiness, darling, and put all your dreams away.”

“Good timing,” she said.  He didn’t mention it was purely chance.  He didn’t even know the lyrics to the song, and listened.  “When your dreams at night fade before you, then I’ll have the right to adore you.”

And adore her he did.

Charger 11

Be sure to watch the accompanying short film capturing some of this moment at the end.  Thanks for reading!

Anabelle sat on her stoop, the afternoon sun splashing her face, diffused through the thick leaves of the oak tree in front of her house.  She placed the black suitcase-shaped machine on her lap, pushed the two black buttons on the front and gently lifted the cover off her Brother Charger 11 typewriter.

She picked up the bubble-wrap package the mailman left in her doorway and tore the top off with her teeth, dumping the contents onto the ground, including a spool of typewriter ribbon and a receipt, which she automatically threw into her bright blue recycling bin that sat at the bottom of her stoop.

She peeled back the tape that held bubble wrap around the spools and carefully removed them, looking the mysterious objects over, trying to figure them out.  She took the cover off her typewriter and looked at all of the little arms that would be creating her work as soon as she figured out how to spool it.  She gently pushed the B button, seeing how the mechanism moved, and discovered where the ribbon had to be placed.

After some struggle, she got it under and over all of the right little pegs and was ready to go.  Reaching behind her, she grabbed a small stack of old paper, green and faded from age with browned edges, and she pushed it under the big black rubber bar she knew to be the platen (after Googling the parts of a typewriter) and started spinning the dial on the side, hearing the click and watching the paper slowly appear from underneath, nestling safely under the metal beam that held the paper in place.

She started typing and simple words came out, words that people have probably typed millions of times when testing out any sort of writing instrument.

“Anabelle rules.”

“This is fun.”

“Kinks rule.”  Okay, that one was just because the record was playing in her house and she could hear the song “A Well Respected Man.”

“Annabelle loves her typewriter.”

All of which were true.  She practiced a bit more, sometimes typing specific words, other times just closing her eyes and listening to the sound, a new one to her, of the clicking typewriter parts, the arm slamming onto the paper, and the gentle click of the whole carriage slowly gliding one spot over each time she typed.  She tried out all of the buttons, including the ¼ and the * and the @, #, and even the %.  She was thrilled and even squealed a little with glee.  She even figured out (after a few tries) that for an exclamation point, she had to go back and add a period underneath the single line that the typewriter created.

She grabbed the top of the paper and pulled, hearing the metallic ripping sound the platen made, put in a fresh, clean sheet of vintage paper, readjusted the paper holder, and with a serious look on her face started typing a story.