Tuesday, September 08, 2009
The Record Store Guy
(h/t to Maureen, who pointed this out to me)
Once upon a time there were establishments called record stores. These were dubious enterprises, often dank and dark, housed in subterranean passages under city streets, and if the surroundings didn't scare you off, the employees often would. On a good day, a dubious purchase might merely merit a smirk or a raised eyebrow from the guy behind the cash register. More typically, an album by, say, Abba or Olivia Newton John, would elicit guffaws, chortling, and outright ridicule. I knew people who would rather lose money than sell you an Olivia Newton John album. It might have been bad for business, but these folks never claimed to be in business for business, and the clueless customers were always good for a laugh. They brightened up the day down in those cellars, and the sharks could always smell the fresh meat.
One of those sharks was a guy named Bela, who worked for many years at Schoolkids Records and Used Kids Records in Columbus. Bela has started a blog, where he remembers those days. I've met Bela, and Dan and Ron and Curt, and all the other guys he writes about whose approving nods would always validate my existence. If you've never spent a Saturday afternoon (yes, an entire Saturday afternoon) in a record store, or gotten in a heated argument over whether Elton John lost all credibility after Tumbleweed Connection (1971), or whether he held out until after Honky Chateau (1972), then none of this will make much sense to you. But some of us will recognize these folks, and will say, "Yeah, those are my peeps." On Bela's blog you will find things like this:
I admired a man named Craig Regala who worked alongside his longtime girlfriend at Magnolia Thunderpussy records, I had an undying crush on her but with her being with him and at least twenty-six years old was way out of my league. When the north location of Magnolia’s closed, I hired Craig at Discount where we laughed at the insanity of a corporate record store. We would sometimes crouch below the counter as the other one rang up a pain-in-the-ass customer and pull our penises out and wiggle them around, just out of eye shot of the customer. Craig had about seventy-seven ear piercings in his ears and tattoos that didn’t consist of roses or naked ladies on his arms, he was funny as hell and insightful.
If you're put off by that, then don't read. And some of us will think, "Man, I've always wanted to do that to some snarky customer." What can I say? I liked Jack Black in High Fidelity, too.