2. Tim and I had a great time at Acme Records for Eric Spitznagel's Old Records Never Die event. Mr. Spitznagel is as funny in person as he is on the page. They are both different talents, mind you. Ken and Mike were great hosts and we had a number of attendees thank us with the unusual pairing. If you like these alternative venue events, we've got another one tonight (Friday, June 24), as we're cosponsoring Steven Hyden at The Cactus Club for Your Favorite Band is Killing Me. It's also at 7 pm and it has even more bells and whistles than last night's event did. It's also out of the way of the Bay View bike race.* We have signed copies of Old Records now and should have Your Favorite Band on Sunday.
As he was discussing records of his past, he talked about the object itself, the thing that's been lost in most music discussions. Of course not every album had a zipper, or a booklet, and lots of singles didn't even have picture sleeves, but that only made the ones that did more special? Remember colored vinyl? Remember fold-out posters? This is something that we still have in the book world, and every time a book is released with a beautiful jacket or endpapers or better quality paper or colored ink, we sit up and take notice.
3. Following up on Old Records Never Die and our visit to Acme, my sister Claudia had just been to Taipei visiting friends. She lived there years ago at the beginning of her career teaching China, as the mainland hadn't yet opened up to foreigners. One of her close friends, Hsin-ming, left his job to pursue his dream, to open a vinyl record store in town. I asked Claudia to ask Hsin-ming what people were looking for when they came into the shop. He said it was a lot of Western artists but people did come in looking for hard-to-find copies of Chinese pop music from the 1980s, by artists such as Teresa Teng and Fong Fei-Fei.
Hsin-ming's interests run to classical, old country bluegrass, and vintage rock and roll. He said that nobody had come in looking for their old records, and folks generally didn't seem to romanticize their scratches. In fact, it was not unusual for customers to replaced scratched copies with pristine ones.
*Speaking of the Bay View bike race the Downer Classic is tomorrow (Saturday, June 25). It's going to be hard to park close to the store. If you love bike races, please come! If you don't love bike races, be prepared to walk a little more (the exercise is good for you) or come on Sunday.