5.23.2005


High Fidelity
(a great book and an equally good movie, how often does that happen? okay; Trainspotting... now try to give me another example)

this evening on my walk home from work I opted to allow my journey to go a few minutes longer in an effort to soak in some urban eye candy
no need to be listening to my iPod
no need to be fumbling though my Blackberry
no need to make any phone calls as I am really not that popular
the city gives me all of the sights and sounds my mind needs

so I marched up 18th Street from Dupont Circle rather than 19th
sure, 19th Street would be a tad more direct
but it is not everday I get to experience this pedestrian perspective
I take 18th Street with its sidewalk cafes and ecclectic shops

as I stroll up 19th I glance down different alleys and street
memories pop into my head
friend's old apartments, group houses that have gone condo, store fronts that have changed hands many times since I last passed through the store front of
then there are the milestones that remain the same
take out chinese
sit down Salvadorean at El Tamarindo
the windowless Dan's Cafe
bars, bars, and more bars... and we are still at the base of the strip
and yes... liquor stores... liquor stores that will cash your check

the notion of dinner enters my mind
many carry out options
empanatas, burrittos, subs, massive slices of pizza
thai, vietamesse, ethiopian, and even american options
but I am marching home to arrive in time to put Dean to bed
eating at home is my best option

then out of the corner of my eye I spot a familiar face
to confirm things I check the marquee of the store front
sue enough it is a record store, so I glance through the window to confirm things
yep
it is Neal, he is inside his NEW used vinyl record/cd shop
what the heck! I go down the stairs to the basement business
I have a few minutes to spare before Dean gets to hear the saga of "Bill and Pete" for the 6 hunredth time

Neal greets me with a hello
it has been a while since our paths have crossed
we know each other from bars and parties.... not toddler parks

it is tough for me to focus on Neal
I pause to take it all in
posters, records, t-shirts, and more records
I take another spin around
cool posters, cool records, cool t-shirts, and more cool records
the set up is pretty bare bones
this is no chrome plated business for the latest and greatest dj
this is more of a down home record trader for the listener who still craves the crack and pop of a needle on vinyl
neal by the way, is dj... no electronica.... but a record spinning dj just the same

there is informal bantor back and forth as I move about the store
as a weak form of introduction a gruff exchange is shared with another employee... maybe the co-owner od the store, not sure
either way our meeting was uneventful at best
bordering closer on negative than pleasant

as I check through various bins with an intentional Adult ADD fashion I make record talk with neal
" I have this... what is that worth?"
not having the answer on hand Neal turns to his gruff co-worker
this is where the whole experience goes sour, well starts to go sour
apparently the record I have is not worth anything
reissued... I am told
"but I have the import" "never played it" "with the removable day glow sleeve" "Japanese Import... thought that was worth something"
still of no value, I am assured
no worries... as I have no intention of selling my vinyl anyway
just trying to talk their language
the topic changes
I move away and make mention that this guy is reminding me why I stopped going to record stores

I look on the wall and see an assortment of postcards...
Dischord Records Postcards.... photos by Cynthia Connelly
i make some statement to Neal about these images being just more affirmation that so much of the DC music scene was creating the year book that these people had never been in...
Banned in DC being the actual yearbook...

apparently this was more than this guy could take

my mention of me stepping away from the music scene after seeing that the anti-cliches were just as "clichie" as the "high school cliches"

this conversation was with Neal
but this other character had a comment and a rebutal for nearly everthing I said
I lacked the energy for the exchange
it is a debate that could not be won

Ironically... in my closing minutes from work today I recomended three albums/cds for a bicycle blogger in Sweden Black Flag/damage Bad Brains/I Against I and Minor Threat (any all encompassing discography)

the true humor of this exchange falls back on this uy falling into a stereotypical roll
he reminded me of all the record store guys I delt with as an adolescent
equal portions of uncool and attitude

it happens in bicycle shops
it happens in guitar stores
it happens in used book stores

the only difference now...
eBay and Amazon.com

this guy is a dinosaur
on the verge if causing his own extinction
on my departure there were good byes
when the stranger said that he would see me around I assured him he would not
as I do not plan on going back to that store

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