(In which we bric some brac and knick some knack.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 11, 2009 05:46pm | Post a Comment

As God is my witness, I don't know what I'm supposed to pack my collection of vintage boxes in.

Phew! Hey – how’s it going? Oh, you’re reading the Amoeblog, I see. Well, hope I’m not interrupting you – I just needed to take a break from unpacking. I don’t know how I fit so much stuff into my previous, tiny, New York-style apartment! I mean, I don’t remember sleeping on a pile of books and LP’s eight yards deep, but I must have.

The whole process of moving can be especially complicated for those of us who are avid collectors of music and film and all manner of art-faggory. It becomes a reenactment of that crucial scene from Sophie’s Choice (I won’t include any spoilers here for those of you who’ve never seen the film; suffice it to say that, due to Sophie’s fear of baking soda, her love for the town’s baker suffers some dire tragedies. And her cat turns out to be the murderer.)

I find myself reconsidering whether or not I need a collection of punk 45’s, but before I can decide, I’m distracted by the hilarity and exuberance of the Blatz song then suddenly stuck in my head, and before I know it, everything’s in the box “to be saved” and all that makes it to the thrift store is a redundant garlic press and a cutting board whose origin I cannot recall.

I suppose I could live without my antique sextant. But what if I wanna measure the altitude of a
celestial object above the horizon while onboard a ship without electricity? ...I better keep it.

To be honest, I never really identified with the “collector” mentality. I have this many albums because I love this many (and more) and I have these DVD’s, books and posters for the same reason. I don’t keep hold of anything simply because of its cash value. I never questioned what I could sell my autographed, first pressing of Stories From the Nerve Bible for on Craig’s List – I just wanna read it again and again, ‘s all.

My boyfriend does not share my affliction, but he’s been patient and compassionate. He’s also mastered the art of walking away and waiting for me to come around. For example, when he first suggested I get rid of a few T-shirts that no longer fit me, either physically or socially, such as the muscle-T of camouflaged material held together, not with sewing thread, but dozens of safety pins and boasting a silk-screen of female breasts and the words ELVIS CHRIST* on the bosom, I turned on him, eyes bulging, and in my best impersonation of a harpy, screeched, “Well, maybe.” Sensing I was reconsidering what I wanted more, this musty rag of a top or his true and abiding love, he calmly left the discussion and returned to washing my assortment of Rocky & Bullwinkle drinking glasses.

It makes things taste better!!!

An hour later, after a misty recollection of the first time I almost barfed in the 924 Gilman Street restroom – the same night I had found said muscle-T in a free box next to the ticket counter – and after secretly putting the shirt on and coming to grips with how much my body’s grown since I was 17, I meekly approached my boyfriend – who was, by now, dusting one of my many Bibles, and announced that I had decided to get rid of the T-shirts.

He held me.

I used to think I was a collector, but that was before I started working at Amoeba Music. There are customers, dear reader, who spend longer hours there than I ever do. When do they have time to listen to all the music they’re hunting? Why do they need so many copies of the same Miles Davis album? Do their wives know these men are cheating on them with out-of-print copies of the Un homme et une femme soundtrack?

Anyway, I better get back to unpacking. These issues of Neat Stuff aren’t going to file themselves, you know.

* Time has taught me that most every city in the U.S. has, at some point, produced a punk band by the name Elvis Christ. The group to which this reference is attributed was an entirely un-famous and lovable line-up of young men from Grass Valley, California, which is why you've never heard of them.

Relevant Tags

Pete Bagge (1), Comics (13), Blatz (4), Soundtracks (39), Claude Lelouch (1), Un Homme Et Une Femme (1), Miles Davis (40), 924 Gilman (6), Punk (70), Elvis Christ (1), Nevada City (25), Grass Valley (2), Laurie Anderson (13), Neat Stuff (1)