Thursday, December 04, 2008

"Things are never quite the way they seem..."

Back to the Future Playlist
Saturday, 11 October, 2003

8 a.m.
Thompson Twins – “Lies”
The Go Betweens – “Karen”
The Connells – “Fun & Games”
Poi Dog Pondering – “Jackass Ginger”
Hot House Flowers – “Don’t Go”
Tom Robinson Band – “2-4-6-8 Motorway”
Happy Mondays – “Kinky Afro”
The Cure – “Jumping Someone Else’s Train”
Gary Clail – “Human Nature”
Felt w/ Liz Frasier – “Primitive Painters”
Dumptruck – “Back Where I Belong”
Matthew Sweet – “We’re the Same”
Deee-Lite – “Groove is in the Heart”
David Sylvian – “Red Guitar”
The Pogues – “Dirty Old Town”

9 a.m.
John Hiatt – “Thing Called Love”
Royal Crescent Mob – “Love Rollercoaster”
The Cramps – “Surfin’ Dead”
Television – “Friction”
Pete Shelley – “Homosapien”
Nick Cave – “Deanna”
Love & Rockets – “Haunted When the Minutes Drag”
Gang of Four – “I Love a Man in a Uniform”
Falco – “Rock Me Amadeus”
Edie Brickell – “What I Am”
Circle Jerks – “American Heavy Metal Weekend”
Duran Duran – “Planet Earth”
808 State – “Moses”

10 a.m.
Squeeze – “Take Me I’m Yours”
Talking Heads – “Cities”
Terence Trent D’arby – “She Kissed Me”
Pet Shop Boys – “Suburbia”
Golden Palominos – “Clustering Train”
Flesh for Lulu – “Postcards from Paradise”
Enigma – “Sadeness”
Soho – “Hippie Chick”
(open for request)
The Police – “The Bed’s Too Big Without You”
Stray Cats – “Rock this Town”
The Cucumbers – “My Boyfriend”
Us 3 – “Cantaloop”
(open for request)

Although The Record Store was primarily known first and foremost as a place to buy music and music-related ephemera, we also did a brisk side business selling jewelry and smoking paraphernalia. There were plenty of regulars who never bought music from us at all, but were there each week to buy pipe screens, rolling papers, or one-hitters. Because of the quasi-illegal nature of the paraphernalia side of the business, we were forced to stop selling the harder-core head items like bongs, but we sold whatever we could while still staying on the right side of the law. This included cleanse kits.

The first cleanse kits we carried were “Quick Flush” herbal teas. Even though kits cost nearly $20 a box and users had to drink a couple of quarts of the stuff for it to work, we sold out each and every weekend. In a blue collar steel-and-auto manufacturing city where alcohol and recreational drug use was about the only fun to be had, I guess selling out of piss-test helpers wasn’t all that surprising.

While the herbal teas remained popular, we soon expanded our trade to include vials of a synthetic compound that could be mixed with urine to mask THC, and shampoo kits that stripped the THC out of hair. The teas were most popular with those who knew they were going to have to take a drug test – usually those in the process of job hunting. The chemical vials were most popular with assembly-line workers, who could be pulled from the line for a test at a moments notice. Users were instructed to keep the vials with them at all times – preferably someplace warm, like the front pocket of jeans or inside a bra. This is because the synthetic compound needed to be the same body temperature as urine in order to work.

You are probably wondering by this time why I’m banging on at such length about drug test kits when this post is supposed to be about my old WOXY play lists, and I can only say that the first thing that leapt out at me about this play list was Gang of Four’s “I Love a Man in a Uniform” which reminded me of the inordinate number of military personnel who came into the store in search of those cleanse kits. By far the most requested items for the soldiers and flyboys were the shampoo cleanse-kits. One of them once told me that it was because the government rarely bothered with piss-tests for personnel who had already completed basic training – instead, the U.S. military preferred the hair-strand test for our boys in uniform. I do not know how things are in today’s military, but back then soldiers were tested each time they had been away on leave.

And since most soldiers had their heads shaved during basic and kept it close cropped throughout their tenure in the armed forces, the shampoos we sold were rarely ever used above the shoulders. Mostly, as I was nervously informed by a worried flyboy, hair would be plucked from the legs, arms or – wait for it – the groin area. Ouch. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the chemicals in the shampoo kits tended to burn the, erm, more “sensitive areas” upon which they were applied. Such were the lengths our boys went through in order to serve their country.

Anyway, I couldn’t find a decent video of Gang of Four, so instead I give you another military-inspired song from the 80’s:

Stan Ridgway’s “Camouflage”

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