Monday, November 13, 2006

"Am I too old? Is it too late?"

One of the best perks of working in the Record Store was getting to listen to music all day, every day. Not everything we had to listen to could be considered "good," as The Sav's taste in music was mystifyingly bad, but he didn't hang around the shop any longer than he absolutely HAD to, so his selections were suffered until he had left the store and we could see his rusty brown van putting its way up the street.

I listened to a lot of music back then--we all did--and each workday brought with it the chance to hear new stuff, and to turn on fellow co-workers and the punting public to new, great sounds.

We'd hide the vinyl in our cars, waiting for the moment when The Sav's van turned the corner onto Burgville Road, headed for home, when we would dash in turn outside and grab up our armfuls, gleefully hauling them inside the store for the perusal of our co-workers. Later the vinyl switched to CD's, but the ritual was the same.

We always tried to bring in stuff we knew the others might like, rather than what we ourselves liked. And in the spirit of comeraderie we always pulled our selections from another co-workers pile, rather than our own. So when it was Reynolds' turn to choose, he might pull something from my list, or from TC's, or Philberts--but never from his own. It was just an unspoken agreement, and served us well.

One album that was never in dispute was Pink Floyd's The Wall. It was the soundtrack to every Saturday night that I can remember working at the record store. We played the store's battered white label test pressing until the turntable went to the great gig in the sky, and then we switched to my Mobile Fidelity CD copy. Every Saturday night at 9 p.m. we put it on, and for the next two hours were transported through the fertile, tormented minefield of Roger Waters imagination, riding the pure ringing tones of Gilmore's floating fretwork.

It has to be the most listened to CD in my collection. Give or take the rare Saturday night off, my calculations tally 576 times The Wall was played while I worked there.

At this point in my life, I doubt that record will be surpassed.

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