Trading And Upgrading

Posted: May 24, 2009 in The Roper Files
May 24th 2009 001
Wrote last week about doing some spring cleaning around here; this is not something that happens over-night around here. Doing it in bits and pieces this year; not going to try and do it all at once. Sometimes just one pile of stuff gets moved and organized per day.

Earlier this week I was rooting through a shelf of jazz CDs at a used DVD/Game software/CD store and remembering a box of discs I had sitting gathering dust in a closet at home that were left-over from my days of peddling used vinyl and CDs at the Dallas Record Show that used to happen monthly a hotel in Richardson.

Bob, the guy who put the shows together worked mainly off of a mailing list and didn’t really have the budget to advertise the way he should have. In between 1991 and about two or three years ago I watched the crowds dwindle from a thousand or so a day to the sorry point where the vendors out-numbered the paying customers.

It cost fifty bucks to rent a table for a day, so that was how many used albums at $4,5 dollars a pop you had to sell…?
Some days I did okay; people would show up, flip through the box, pull something out and pay for it in cash without haggling with me about it the way they were supposed to. Other days I drove home with twenty dollars less than when I left home because almost no one showed up and the few who did would walk past my table and not even stop to look at what I had. Or they would stand in front of my table and talk on their cellphone or to a friend, blocking access to people who did want to stop and look.
Or they had spent all their money by the time they got to my table. Or then there was my all-time favorite: “ I didn’t bring any money; I just came to look. Are you going to be here next month?” Yeah look for me; I’ll be the guy wearing the fucking barrel with the suspenders…

I still have several boxes of records with price tags on them I need to sort through and do something with: Ebay, Amazon, whatever… but while drooling over the large number of new and used jazz CDs at the used disc store last week I remembered that box in my closet full of CDs I never listen to anymore.
Some of them I had multiple copies of; some were even still in the shrink-wrap. The solution was obvious…

Yesterday afternoon I loaded up a small wooden crate of CDs into the front seat and drove down to the disc store. The two cute teenage girls stared in bewilderment at my assortment of punk and progressive music, most of which was probably older than them. They giggled at a nude photo of GG Allin (RIP) on the front of one disc and the CD entitled “Rembrandt Pussyhorse” by the Butthole Surfers on another. They refused some of my discs that weren’t in the database they were using (whatever that was) and gave me a whopping $38 in store credit for the remaining discs. I walked out of there with about a dozen or so of the discs I took in and seven assorted jazz CDs, some of which were still in the shrink-wrap.

May 24th 2009 003

They sort of hosed me; I think they should have given me more credit. But on the other hand those CDs were next to useless. I never listened to them and I drug them back and forth between my house and Dallas umpteen times and the collector-nerds over there thumbed through them numerous times and THEY didn’t want them, and these discs I got are pretty sweet. Recordings that date back to the 50’s /60’s; stuff almost as old as I am. Didn’t really “get” jazz when I was a kid, but there were some amazing musicians working in those studios. So I got some new jazz discs in exchange for stuff I couldn’t sell. If they could , then more power to them… Gawd knows I tried.

So this morning I fired up a delicious pot of freshly ground beans and put on Miles Davis 1965 “ESP” and became temporarily hypnotized and got slightly lost in the mix of drums, bass and horns. Got really lost until the phone rang: “Hey you; whatcha doin’ ?” It’s a certain blond on the line.
Guess I could try to explain, but it’s almost pointless unless she was here.

May 24th 2009 004
I’ve got a 120-watt Pioneer receiver hooked up to four large speakers stacked on top of each other; my living room has wooden floors. The sound bounces around the room in a strange, almost elementary school restroom sort of way. When I turn up the jazz, it sounds like the stand-up bass is right there in my living room ( thanks to my brand-new 12-inch woofers) When I listen to music here sometimes I get really caught up in it; my stereo sounds really sweet in here. My neighbors like music fortunately and come over telling me to turn it up more often than they complain about it.

May 24th 2009 006
I’ve blown the speakers blaring Black Flag, the Ramones and the Cramps etc. more than once over the years (especially before I quit drinking; funny how that works) Fortunately there is a place right around the corner from me that sells replacement speakers and I have been able to salvage my ancient speakers every time they blow using my own tools right on the living room coffee table like Dr. Frankenstein (“Igor! They’re alive!”) Last set of woofers cost me about a hundred dollars, but it was still cheaper than buying new speakers.

May 17th 2009 004

Once they’ve been re-built and I put on an old favorite disc I get much the same satisfaction an old vintage car enthusiast must feel cruising down the road in a lovingly restored sedan. Crank up something like L7’s “Shove” or a good old Iggy Pop and the Stooges tune and feel the wind move in my hair, just like that guy in the old Maxell cassette ads.
May 24th 2009 009
Been having fun flipping through my record collection a lot lately; I’ve spent a lifetime collecting music and hardly a weekend to just sit and listen to any of it. I declare this THAT weekend.
Digging out the Joy Division box set, that first Killing Joke LP, that 45 Anthrax did with the Beastie Boys “I’m the Man”…
My four day weekends are far and few between…I need to dig out the tools and put my new mower together. Need to re-string the weed-eater and clean up this place. Hmmm…are those rain clouds way out there? Better stay inside and re-string my three guitars instead; much safer…

Think we all know where this is going; I’m not going to get a fucking thing done. I can feel it in my bones. Why mow if it’s going to rain? Just need to mow again. Let it rain first; assemble the mower later. and if it’s going to rain no point in cleaning the house, right? Just going to track stuff in.
Listen to Miles blow his horn; think he wasted an afternoon worrying about assembling lawn-mowers? Or cleaning his own pad? Hard to imagine that.

That does it; put on another cup of coffee. Listen to the band…


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