About ‘Condition Oakland’
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TRACK 2 – CHAPTER SEVEN: ARCADIA
There’s too many records in the world. I want them all. Even if they’re crap… I’m sure there’s something good about them. It’s like the movie ‘the Dreamers’… not letting the movies rot in some archive… but showing the movies, any movie. Just to let them live.
I have a little extra cash, so that means one thing: time to buy some records. Literally records, too, since I just got a turntable about a week ago from this local store that refurbishes and sells them at minimum cost. They know and I now know that there’s something different about holding the physical album in your hands, putting it on the turntable, setting it spinning, and lowering that needle into a groove… Even the static sounds pure.
I hop in the car and head over to Arcadia, the main independent record store in town. I walk through the open door and the smell of that perfectly familiar obscure Shrinivas Sugandhalaya incense hits me like sweetly threatened innocence. They’re playing the ‘Propellerheads’ album ‘Decksandrumsandrockandroll’ over the store’s speakers overhead.
The record store is a mythical land. It is a street market in the Nexus. You’re in Professor X’s Cerebro and all the mutants in the world are at your brain’s fingertips.
Look at these… the album art… it’s genius. Someone is a… these people are geniuses. Put this on. Here, put this on, we’ve gotta hear this. How much for the store?
What the hell is this?
Have you ever looked at the artwork for an album…? Any really good album? Why aren’t these in museums? Why aren’t these learned about in high schools? La Curriculum vitae. And people think digital music is… what? That you don’t lose anything? Hey, go burn down a library and post the pictures online.
I want to be one of these images. I want to be a true legend. What could possibly compare to that image of the Replacements sitting on top of the roof on the cover of ’Let it Be’, the girl in the glass bubble on the cover of ’Soul Coughing’s ’Ruby Vroom’, or the sweet quivering colors of ’Irresistible Bliss’?
Do you believe in rock and roll? Can music save your mortal soul?
Can you teach me how to dance real slow?
True dreams… It’s sublime.
You stand there, not really tensed, wondering at the ‘Stone Roses’ album ‘Second Coming’, thinking, the power of art such as this… it should be enough. Enough to make… you know. If there was a war outside, someone tried to drop a bomb on this town, this album should be able to rise up and just say, like Neo to the bullets, “No.” And they’d stop there. The bomb would be rendered powerless. Because this art is more.
It’s… hell, it’s more useful. It’s more important. And damnsure more real. Don’t even mention beauty.
They push that button. The ones who make that call. The ones behind that button…
They’ll never know…
This whole world they’ll never see. Unless… All the worlds they’ll never see.
All the worlds I won’t see– any of us, won’t see, won’t live, in…
I could curl up on the floor here and camp out. Live in the aisle. Time for some good tunes.
I pick up the new ‘Bright Eyes’ ep, and an old Dylan lp I don’t have.
I head to the counter.
“Hey man. Oh, this is a good one.”
He hands me my change.
“Thanks a lot,” I say.
“Peace.” says the clerk after handing me my cd. I turn back to him, ambling out the door. “Yeah.
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