Saturday, August 30, 2008

When the second hand doesn't know the first hand is doing (matron)

So I've woken up today, and it's my parents anniversary - 34 years and counting. That's quite the effort, and I like to think how I would have survived in 1970s Britain, debating whether T-Rex was better than Wizzard. By all accounts, it was quite a rough place, where survival relied on either a quick wit or the ownership of a butchers knife. I've got to stop reading Rebus - anyway, I'm pretty proud of them, I know people who give up on their marriage after two days. The last wedding I went to, I'd say that marriage is going to last a few years and then dissolve - I certainly don't mean to make a rash judgement, but when the highlight of the wedding isn't any kind of heartfelt declaration of love (because they are spending all day fighting) but when the drunken snob girl in the wedding party who thinks she's so much better than you goes outside, drunk, and rides a golf flag around a putting green like a horse, you know things aren't exactly lighting up the sky. My Mum and Dad had their honeymoon roughly about 3 towns along from where the lived - they saw my auntie at the bus stop. Considering the easy life I've had, where the only thing I have to worry about is finally seeing the episode where Wile E Coyote finally catches Road Runner, I really appreciate their sacrifice in bringing me up. Of course, my Dad keeps referring to my big stupid coupon...so what am I sticking up for him for?

So anyway, I've been throwing all my old CDs - yes, young people, we once had to buy CDs, just like people older than me had to buy cassingles by bands like Ratcat - into a skip, if for no reason than I can't stand Cash Converters. Furreners, Cash Converters is essentially the easy way for bogans to swap items for cash, and once upon a time I had the misfortune to need money and took a bunch of CDs down there (OK, they weren't great - I still don't know why I spent 29.95 on a Simpsons album, but it probably explains my lack of cash) and was rewarded handsomely for my efforts in packaging up the box nicely with...six bucks, take it or leave it. My local Cash Converters also has about 7 security guards per person, as if you are going to make a bolt for it with an armful of Joanne singles and Cop and Half with Burt Reynolds tucked under your shirt. Seriously, the putters are in a locked glass case. How hard would it be to steal a putter, what's the security systems obsession with speciality golf clubs? The main security guard also doubles as someone behind the counter, and he has this really fearsome monobrow, which I think affects his mood. Whenever you go and buy something, he seems to be making a personal assessment on your social standing, and he seems to take an age making a judgement on it. The last time I actually bought something without running out of the store feeling like I was about to be nabbed around the collar just for stealing oxygen, it was a copy of a CD I bought for a friend for her birthday, let's say Sophie Lee and The Freaked Out Flower Children, he seemed to spend an age contemplating just how freaked out those flower children were, furrowing his monobrow in sheer confusion as if he was a drowning man who saw a life raft and contemplated whether life was worth going on with. Eventually, he put the CD into a small plastic bag, and as handed it to be me, his face lit into a (for him) animated mask of excitement. "Sophie Lee...she went out with Mick Molloy" he said with as much enthusiasm and emotion as a minimum wage employee of Cash Converters could muster. Yes, I said, she sure did, if you believed the 8th page of New Idea in May 1992 that had them both on a yacht - at which point, as I was about to leave the store, he has concluded his midday musings simply by saying "Fnh, she could have done better" - having seen Boytown, yes, yes she certainly could have...

Had this been a few years ago, I would have taken this box of CDs to "I Like" Aeroplane Records, the much missed second hand record and filthy old magazine store in the middle of Hobart, just next to the car park and the milkshake drinkers. There was always a wonderful staff synergy to Aeroplane Records - a very special man (and I mean special) and a parade of different attractive women. I think the attractive women had to work there with him as part of community service or some kind of witness protection program. There was always this feeling in Aeroplane Records that the attractive woman was shackled to the cash register or was wearing a tagging bracelet. What was always good about Aeroplane Records as well was that it was right next to the pervert shop, the Adult Basement, which was as subtle in hiding perverts as the fact my local video shop used to have the porn tapes on a shelf facing the window, so everyone could see the porn getters just as they drove their car in to park. There was always a wonderful juxtaposition between nerdy record buyers scanning the tables outside the door and the adult shoppers trying to get out of the pervert shop with their shifty purchases. I know that I could certainly spin my second hand CD collection into spun gold with the simple man - he had a stall at Salamanca, and E-bay style, if you were selling him CDs, so someone told me, if you had some kind of interesting story to go along with the CD, he would pay you more for the CD. For instance, this person told me that he had sold a CD to the guy and was offered two bucks for it, at which point, based on the urban legend, he began a long winded story about how the CD had been his mothers and when she passed away she left to him but a high HECs debt had left him unable to pay his bills and his mother had always said...at which point, the great man from Aeroplane records held up his mighty hand and shook his head. "Two fifty", he said, muttering for everyone to hear, "and next time, come up with better shit than that..."

However, the ultimate second hand shop experience was Burnies maginificent palais du wonder (that's probably atrocious French grammar) Collectors Corner. Now, my local KMart used to be the single worst storers of stock I had ever seen, simply DVDs stacked on top of each other as a small child might when told he can't get outside until he's cleaned his room. Collectors Corner was, in it's infancy, a place where a lot of stuff was just thrown into a grey compact warehouse and left in bundles on the ground, so you really had no idea what you were looking at until you began digging. The staff were just massively indifferent to side issues like theft and vandalism, and spent most of their time pottering around on the Internet looking up the value of old Cher vinyl. If you were a collector of stamps, you were absolutely stuffed, as under the stamp sign in the shop (handwritten on a big piece of cardboard) there were indeed stamps, but they were under the coins which were under the old copies of the New Idea which were under some old fossils. Oddly, the only thing they had taken their time to properly organise was the porn magazines, which were neatly stacked, chronologically ordered, and given roughly a 1/4 of the store, tucked away behind some pretty flimsy saloon doors, which was always pretty embarrassing for any passing cowboys who got confused. Brilliantly, this was the front corner of the store, at least initially, so the saloon doors and the apathetic staff weren't stopping any young men not quite of age from wandering in there to have a cheeky peek - which was bad news for a kid who went to our school, who one day wandered into the saloon to have a quick look at some Playboys (the same kid who later went out with the Centrepoint Jeans girl, bastard) and was so engrossed with the sights, he didn't notice a large group of school friends had spotted him and stood behind him as he perused the articles. When he turned around, they gave him a massive round of applause and some encouragement. Fair play to the lad though - rather than being embarrassed, he just shrugged his shoulders and said "Well, your Mum was busy today"...

And for Burnie, that's practically Oscar Wilde...

6 comments:

Kris said...

Collector's Corner? Is that still around? It was generally a better bet for music than most other places, even the 7EX Record Bar!

Miles McClagan said...

I actually remember the 7EX Record Bar - I don't think it had the magic of Aeroplane Records - and CC is still open, 37 Wilson Street Burnie - can't speak for the magical decor being there. Nothing says fun like concrete and posters!

squib said...

We were in the country last year, in a cottage that sold bric-a-brac and they had CDs that were only one of two dollars and I saw one I used to have at High School (except I think it was on cassette). Oh! Oh! I've got to have this. This is so cool

It was a CD by Wet Wet Wet. I tried playing in the car on the way home and suffice to say the coolness hadn't aged too well

squib said...

ps. wondering if you'd be our sing a song guest this friday. If so, email me by thursday with a story and youtube link, ta

Miles McClagan said...

At least you didn't buy the semi legendary Wet Wet Wet Clydebank soccer shirt (they sponsored Clydebank soccer team so the poor buggers ran out with Wet Wet Wet on their shirts - can't figure out why they went out of business).

On behalf of Scotland, I apologize...

And yeah, I'd love to do that - just got to pick a song now...it's tough...

squib said...

I don't know if Wet Wet Wet is something I can forgive