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Pimpin' my Lair

I’ve written before about the joys of vinyl, the pleasures of the large-format album. So why, I wonder, has it taken me so long to get my record player hooked back up? Well, the wait is over and I’m finally spinning disks … the old-fashioned way.

Last Saturday, I went into the garage and pulled out an old bookshelf that I had built years ago, using a waterbed that somebody in the apartment complex where I lived back then had trashed. Well, with that bookcase having served its time (10 years), I decided that what was needed was a couple of racks for my LPs. I have a modest collection of about 300 albums or so, most of which I bought at Flat, Black and Circular in East Lansing, Michigan.

I measured, thought a bit, and set to work with a hand saw, a screwdriver, a pencil, a tape-measure and a hammer. A couple hours later, the bookshelf had been transformed into two record racks and a TV stand. For reasons I don’t quite understand myself, I was proud to build this furniture using the nails (which I straightened), the brackets, the screws and the wood from the bookshelf. I used a handsaw ... so I used no electricity, only muscle power. No trip to Lowe’s: 100% recycled and reused materials!

Finally, this weekend I’m pulling my scratchy old LPs out the cardboard boxes, dusting the covers with a damp rag, and placing them into the racks. This way I can look at them one-by-one ("Hmm. Firesign Theater .... Bill Evans ... Sonny Rollins .... Oh yeah, Bartok's string quartets ..."). I figured out which wires plugged in where and soon the turntable was spinning … All this in my lair, the smallest but (soon to be) hippest room in the house.

Compared to a lot of stereos out there, my record player’s sound is anemic, but it’s good enough for me. Let me digress for a moment …

So many people seem to be into the things associated with an activity or hobby more, than the activity itself. Biking is the perfect example. They’re really into high-tech, ultra low-weight bikes, and fancy outfits and all … I’m not saying they don’t ride, but, man … Shouldn’t riding be the thing, not the bike? The same goes for music. It’s not all about high fidelity … there is something intangible about the listening experience that transcends equipment, and I’m sure that I get more joy out of the stuff that I play on my tinny little speakers than a lot of people get out of their high-end sound systems. A lot of this could have to do with status, but that’s another topic.

So I spent some quality chill time this afternoon, playing:

John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio
Stanley Turrentine with Shirley Scott, “Let It Go”
The Bealtes, “Abbey Road”
Stevie Wonder, “Talking Book”

Next is getting a DVD/VHS player hooked up to the old TV that I took when the wife bought a fancy new flat screen.







Now and Zen

Every man needs a lair.
The shelving sounds very pride worthy and I bet it is something you will have for the rest of your life. You now have history together.
I also find myself less concerned lately with the "muscle car status' of high end stereo equipment and vehicles. I suppose I'm humbling with age or just enjoying lower standards. It's not like I'm ever in the "check this baby out" situations any more. After you strip down all of fancy peripherals and brand names, it's just you and the music that really matters.

Re: Now and Zen

You're right, Dandy.

I'm working on my lair, next the TV, then decorations for the walls.

I hope I didn't sound preachy in the status paragraph!

pimping your lair

sounds like your recycling project was nostaligic in nature as well...glad to hear someone else still has their memeories tied up in vinyl...i have all those albums from all those years...minus a few that my nephew gleaned a few years back.
mark, if you are ever in the area, perhaps you would like to have my collection...i know they would be in good hands...but then again u no doubt have your hands full..any suggustions as to what to do with them...????

Re: pimping your lair

Hey Crazy Lady,

Thanks for reading!

Yes, there is an element of nostalgia involved, but some of it might be more accurately described as rediscovery. What's more, there may be records in there that I wasn't ready for before, but that now I'm primed for ... hopefully.

I remember borrowing a stack of records from you (and I do believe that I returned them) once upon a time. The one that was crazy fun was Little Richard's Greatest Hits.

My brother Steven would probably be happy to take some disks off your hands. He's an inveterate record collector and is in Mancy pretty often. Some of the disks would probably end up in a certain Chicago used record store, some in his collection, and some in Mt. Pleasant Thrift stores. Just a thought.

Thanks for reading,



Re: pimping your lair

The record (song) I most remember hearing at Mary's House on the Hill was "Grandmas Feather Bed" by John Denver.
Or if in Marna's room, "Leader of the Band", by Dan Fogelburg.
Funny, the little things that stick to your brain.
In that vein, in Mark's basement bedroom, I remember being turned on to Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run."

Re: pimping your lair

Funny, Jim, that I can't even remember playing Springsteen for you ... But I can remember being into that album c. 1980 or so. What a lot of stuff you hipped me to: the Doors, Alice Cooper, John Lennon's rarer stuff ("A working class hero is something to be ..."), but my memories are so vague!

April 2018



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