International Record Day – Ottawa

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This past weekend, I spent with my best friend in Ottawa. On Saturday, was International Record Day across the city. My friend actually lives in the heart of the Village, and was within walking distance of all the record stores we shopped at over the weekend.

Before there were cell phones, we had land lines in our homes. Usually on the kitchen wall, and maybe in the living room. I happened to have my own phone in my bedroom growing up.

Before there were computers … Was there ever a BEFORE computers ???

Yes, if you grew up anytime before the early 2000’s. I did not get a computer until the year 2001. But I used one on a University Campus to facilitate my crash and burn SLIP.

What did we have to occupy our time, when we were kids ? We had friends, that we actually visited with, for hours and for me, DAYS at a time. Before there were cars to get you around, your parents had to drive you everywhere.

I thought a lot about this, over the weekend. When I go o Ottawa, we are partially disconnected from the world. Although we have our phones and an I-Pad to access the internet and Netflix.

For the most part, if we aren’t running around town, visiting museums or walking around the city, aimlessly, or eating, we listen to records …

What’s that ? You Listen To Records ???

Yes. My best friend has a television, and a stereo, and a Record Player. Over he past three years, he has built quite a fine collection of records, across the board musically. And we spent hours, over this past weekend, listening to the new records we both bought over the weekend.

With our phones, it is all too easy to download digital copies of music. In a flash, from a Pirate Site or I-Tunes, or from where ever you get your music, we all have libraries of music on our phones.

I purposely, do not have social media on my phone. But I have music. Enough music that while I am on Shuffle … I can listen to so much music, over hours of time, that not one song repeats itself.

When I was a kid, records were my life. Records were the life of many of my friends, growing up. We spent hours upon hours laying on the bedroom floor, staring at the ceiling, listening to records after school.

The best part of records was surely an opportunity to go see you favorite performer live in concert.

I spent countless hours in my bedroom, ALONE, with my records. I would draw. I loved ships. I would sit and look at travel brochures and I would draw by hand, ships on a huge sketch pad. There was always MUSIC playing in the background.

Back in the day, music was physical. It was something we owned with pride. Our respective record collections. My grandparents had a 78 rpm record player with those thick 78 pressed records.

The resurgence of records has been growing in demand over the last few years. This weekend we spent a good amount of time in many record stores looking for those records you could not find on ANY OTHER DAY, than on International Record Day in Ottawa. A One Stop Shop, Extravaganza.

I met men my age, (read: In their fifties) and some a little bit older, picking through record bins, looking for records of their youth. I watched men and women experience a joy that you don’t see very often.

I had several OH MY GOD moments, yesterday and today.

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I love old music. I cannot get enough of it. I have toms of old music on my phone that I downloaded digitally. On my birthday, The Big 50 we went record shopping here in Montreal, however, I don’t yet own a record player.

This weekend, I hit Record Gold with a find that just blew my mind away. Captain and Tennille records. FOUR of them. I hit three in one day, and the fourth one, the Very First Record I ever owned, back in the 1970’s … Pictured there on the right, in the display to the right of the record player …

I found a brand new Never Opened Def Leppard Hysteria, reprinted last year, 2017, double record set, that cost $30.00 less 20 % on sale. Everything in the record stores yesterday was 20% off …

I had several Oh My God Holy Shit Moments, finding records I had not seen in over thirty years. Folks far and wide are recapturing their youth in vintage record stores all over the country. We’ve decided to disconnect from our phones and re-attach ourselves to the past, once again, in records. The Age Old Practice of record playing.

There is nothing like the classic sound of vinyl records. Especially remastered works on stereo systems. Digital may be a choice for active people in today’s world. Listening to music on a record player is such a beautiful experience.

My life is painted in music. Every piece of music I have on my phone is connected to particular memories. And as we played our records, this weekend, we talked about where we were, what age we were, when we first heard that original music.

The best thing about music and records is, that it invites you to disconnect from the world for periods of time, doing nothing but enjoying a record experience.

My next purchase, soon, very soon … Is going to be a record player of my own.

There is NO LIFE without MUSIC or Books for that matter…

 

Sunday Sundries: Birthday Pre-Show

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Sometimes you just have to tell people to just “FUCK OFF !!!” My phone has been ringing off the hook, with a very needy, self-centered woman, who thinks I exist to serve her day and night as her beck and call boy.

NOT !!!!

I have a rule about reciprocity, if you fail this requirement, you loose …

I spent the balance of the day with my best friend, eating good food, and decadent desserts, at Jeanne Mance Park. Jeanne Mance Park is within earshot of Mount Royal Park, across Parc (road) where the Sunday Funday Smoke Some Weed and Play Your Drums, Tam Tam’s takes place weekly.

On our left was a badminton game going on. On our right, was a biker, who was smoking weed, he asked us for a light, with a huge DUBE in his hand. He didn’t ask us if we wanted to share, just a light, for himself.

Not that we would have partaken anyway.

You cannot go very far in Montreal, in the park system and not have to smell weed in the air all around you.

How often does your best friend come to Montreal to see you ? Not often enough. We pledged to change that. I will be going to Ottawa next month.

Good conversation was had.

On the way home, we stopped in a very dangerous shop. A RECORD STORE !!!

I haven’t seen a record player since I left the Night Club business some years ago. I knew records existed. But I have not owned a record player in more than thirty years.

But I bought three records for myself. Which means, I need a RECORD PLAYER …

Xanadu is self-explanatory. I have the music on my phone already. I remember, as a teen-ager getting both my parents to take me to see the film. I’ve seen it several hundred times over the years.

Level 42 needs a little bit more explanation.

When I was a young man, not yet twenty-one, I was working in a travel agency. I was the Manager of said agency at the time. Auspicious? Maybe, maybe not. It was a career that I could have prospered in. Save for the rampant alcoholism that was already present.

That particular year, business was especially good. Pan American ticket sales were through the roof, and we traveled as often as we could. First Class at that.

Because, who flew coach, when First Class Passes were handed out quarterly.

First stop was London, England. Don’t remember much of England. But I did some serious record shopping while I was there. I had a walk man in my carry on luggage and I shipped all my packages home, because we could not check luggage when traveling stand-by passes.

I bought a Level 42 Cassette of Running in the Family … Record Above …

I have a copy of that album on my phone as well. And I listen to it often. One particular cut on that album, “Children Say” has a sound that is reminiscent of trains over tracks.

Every time I listen to it, I can shut my eyes, and JUST make out a visual memory of the over night train we rode from Munich, Germany to Rome. It was an overnight, sleeper car journey.

I know both records I bought today. Just finding these little gems of records is sweet.

I could really do some damage, money wise, if I started collecting records again.

Which means, I need a player to play them on.

My best friend gave me a John Coltrane CD called Giant Steps.

I am told that it was one of his best creations, after he got sober. A little JAZZ to accompany my meditation practice.

Last year, or was it the year before, I got John Coltrane’s Love Supreme CD. He was still living in Montreal, before they moved to Ottawa. We used to sit on the deck out back, and listen to music, and eat fattening food and talk for hours upon hours.

Something I really miss today. And he came up for a concert on Friday, which coincided with my birthday quite nicely.

I’m really grateful.

In 4 hours … I will technically be 50 years old.