A Box at the Door...
For me, it more than likely became an irrational thing back when you had to mailorder skateboards from surf shops out in California (we lived on the East coast). You’d have to fill out the little order form, go to the post office to get a money order, and actually MAIL it. It was an absolutely agonizing two week process. Every moment from the time you dropped the envelope in the mailbox until your new skate arrived was spent obsessing about it. As the two weeks ticked by, me and all my friends began keeping a watchful eye out for the fabled “UPS Guy”. Me and the rest of my crowd knew all the UPS guys. We’d wave down the UPS guy as we skated down the street and ask him if he had a package for you or one of your friends whom you knew had an outstanding skateboard order pending. It was an awesome rush when he’d give you an affirmative response. It was sort of like Eddie Murphy’s “…the ice cream man is coming!!!” routine. You became Paul Revere hauling ass down the road to find your buddy and tell them the UPS guy had a package heading towards their home, and it might actually be sitting on the front door step at that moment!
Nowadays, the most frequently received package at the Alva household is music from Amazon.com. This makes for a doubly good package. I love buying music. With the hour each way commute to work I have now, music is what I do (I’ve had Keith Richards “Main Offender” in the player for the entire week and it is sublime). Yesterday, I came home to discover a Fedex package waiting for me. The size of the box indicated it was too big for a CD order. I opened it to discover it contained an LP version of the Arctic Monkey’s “Favourite Worst Nightmare”. My friend Fred Wilson has been raving about these guys for a long time. I’ve heard a few tracks before, but hadn’t purchased anything by them to date. To say Fred is a huge music fan is the understatement of the century. When discussing music with my other friends when Fred’s name comes up, I always tell them that Fred drinks from the fire hose when it comes to music consumption. Fred can also buoy one’s spirit when it comes to rock and rolls vibrancy, especially if like me, you’re convinced of its eminent demise. Fred is convinced that the Arctic Monkey’s are proof that rock is alive and well and had threatened to send a copy of their work to me as prove of it (like me and many other of my friends, Fred does not steal music). True to his word, he sent along not just a CD copy, but a vinyl copy. What a most excellent and thoughtful surprise.
What was so cool about discovering the LP inside the box was actually seeing an album cover of artwork after so much time. This record has a great cover jacket too. I’m a CD guy and have been for a long time, so seeing a good ol' record jacket was even more of an uplifting experience than getting a CD. It was like getting that skateboard delivered by the UPS guy all over again. After gazing at it for a bit, I decided to set it aside so that I can absorb it all in proper fashion tonight with a glass of wine once the kid’s in bed. I hope it’s as good as he says it is. I hope it restores in me a little bit of optimism.
THIS is what the music experience was once about. It was a special activity, especially the first time you tore that cellophane wrapper off and dropped the needle on that virgin scratch free disc. Fred’s younger brother Jackson buys a great deal of vinyl. I am always envious when he blogs about a major score at the local vinyl shop. He brings home ten or twelve LP’s at a time and gets to sit down at his turntable and rip that cellophane off and go through the ancient ritual that once was listening to a new record over and over.
Fred’s a big believer in the future or digital music. Often times I’m at odds with his thoughts on mass consumption of the art form, but one thing is for sure, the guy simply loves music. He loves it as much as his brothers and I do. It’s evident that he’s familiar with the things of which I've written above. Call it nostalgia if you want, but it’s very real nostalgia to me. It’s a shame that our lives are so busy with all that they are, because for just one day, I’d like to do what we used to do thirty years ago when we were know-it-all, not-a-care-in-the-world teenagers, and sit around a turntable in someone’s basement, crack SEVERAL cold ones, and just spin records.
Thanks Fred, you are the man.