Sunday, March 1, 2015
The Sunday Series: Sunday No. 8 (March 1, 2015)
Sunday No. 8
Since today is Sunday, this is the day where I’m going to build my ideal record shop within one of my rooms in our house. I often dream of living in a record store - but not just any record store, but one from the 1950s or early 1960s. The mid-modern interior plus music is a seductive image for me. In my dreams, I have often looked at out-of-print albums and just being amazed that I’m holding them - but alas it is only a dream. But as they say, “dreams can happen.”
For the vinyl, I basically sold everything except the house and clothes I wear on a daily basis. The artwork was sold, as well as my car and the wife’s car as well. I also went on a diet of just eating one meal a day, to save money to purchase not only quantity but quality vinyl as well. I went to various dealers at the Pasadena Swap Meet in the Pasadena City College - and purchased a great deal of vinyl. Around 3,000 pieces. I have a sizable classical section, which is mostly the label Columbia “Masterworks, ” series; the so-called six eye label. Then of course, the complete Dial Jazz recordings as well as Miles’ Columbia releases (of course, and again, the six eye label) as well as every release from Reprise Records, the label started by Frank Sinatra in 1960. And for good measure most of the releases from Capital Records 1950s era. Then I have a sizable section of Factory Records, and of course, The Beatles Apple releases - but not the actual Beatle recordings, but the other artists who had albums issued on that label.
The actual room which will now be a record store is 100 feet by 100 feet. It’s a decent size room and it used to be our living room. Using vintage photographs of authentic record shops from the 1940s to early 1960s, I pretty much have the design for my dream room. I had to re-do the walls and floor, and I actually covered up a window by placing it with a giant image of the Columbia six eye label. I went for the art deco meets mid-century retail interior look for this room. Since the windows were removed, I could put up album displays on the walls, and then I built a long counter, where I placed the turntable and register machine. Even though it’s a real register, there is not any money in it. I also built a magazine rack and filled it with vintage 16 Magazine, Tiger Beat, old copies of NME, Melody Maker, and the first two or three issues of Rolling Stone Magazine (when they were still situated in San Francisco). The turntable I purchased for the space is The Thorens TD 124, which was first introduced in 1957, but mine is actually from 1966. The additional Goldring 850 cartridge with the Rega II tone arm made this the ultimate turntable. It’s very important that when playing vintage vinyl that you also use a vintage turntable as well.
After finishing the decor and getting the inventory together, is to add a very important element in the whole picture. I needed a very beautiful and sexy girl to work behind the counter as well as help me to keep the records in their sections. With that in mind I needed to re-finance my home, to raise funds for payroll to finance such a person. I went to Amoeba to locate the most stunning woman employee there, and believe me there are plenty of beautiful eye-candy material. But I also need a woman who can talk and think about vinyl as well as looking good in a 1950s vintage dress. No slacks or casual wear is allowed in my private record store. Also she must be single, and not be involved with anyone else, besides me of course.
I choose a girl by the name of Virginia. She had long straight blonde hair that came to her derrière, and I made sure she wore short skirts, due that she had long lovely legs. I also insisted that she be barefooted while working in my record store space. So there was a touch of the Sandie Shaw aspect of her as well. She totally agreed to everything, and it was an extra plus that she was very much into 20th century classical music and was quite a fan of the composer Luciano Berio.
The genius touch, was to be able to add a small bar at the left side of the sales counter. That is where I kept my various bottles of wine, as well as sake (planning to add Japanese showa era pop music) and whisky. The opening day when everything came together was on Sunday March 1. Virginia showed up for work in a proper work attire, and I eventually got myself a drink of whisky and water. I sat down and while she was behind the counter she put on a copy of Berio’s “Sinfonia” with the composer conducting the piece. As I approach my older age, I realized that one shouldn’t have to compromise their stance in the world. This privileged place, or room, with Virginia, is and will be my final statement left on this world.
-Inspired by Lun*na Menoh & Boris Vian.