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CD Junkie
By Dylan de Thomas



Completist. Dork. Child. Loser. Geek.

Do you ever get the feeling that you're alone in this world? Do you ever feel like, no matter how hard you try, you just can't have others relate to you? Have you ever had the following experience with anything?

You find come across something of interest; say for example, the late 60's Brazilian psychedelic rock movement, Tropicalia. (More on it later), and Yyou find yourself wanting to learn more so about this movement and, you know, you do. Yyou buy some CDs, you read some articles, check out a few books. books, whatever, and you'rePretty soon you are confident you have something to say about it, something that relates to hip-hop or mope rock or political dissent or the cannabalist manifesto. there. Just to be sure, you go ahead and pick up a few more hip-hop mope rock hillbilly CDs so you aren't accused of talking out your ass. You want to talk to people about it . Sso, you talk turn to your friends. Bbut they of course know nothing, so you find yourselfso you end up repeating the same theory yourself again and again in the hopes that someone will pick it up and follow your Golden Lead. You even burn them all the recently acquired CDs that brought you to your conclusions.

Finally you have exhausted their patience andBut no. You end up just geeking out, all by your lonesome. , and whenIf you do happen to run across finally find someone who relates, they're so geeked out themselves you find yourself repelled and asking yourself pointed internal questions. Is that me? Am I that bad? Do I drive people away? Am I asking questions of people just to give them the answer that I have? Are dialogues with me really monologues? How many CDs did I just buy? These questions and more plague me every day and make me feel that I'm a dork and really, really lonely.

"I want to look at my CD collection and look at it like a library, like a well stocked library," Andee, head of SF's cult label, tUMULt said to me the other day over a plate of funky Chinese food, "How many times are the people who have those large book libraries gonna read those things anyway? I listen to some of these CDs three times a day." After this strong, life-affirming statement, he told me that he's thinking about putting some curtains, or something similarly tasteful in front of the collection so as to not overwhelm his fiancée with the grandeur, the glory, of several thousand compact discs of unparalleled beauty and power. If I didn't have half of my collection semi-hidden on various shelves around my own mine and my ladies apartment, I'd call him a pussy. I can't, though., as I regularly hide CDs (and my extreme attendant joy in acquiring said CDs) from my own lovely lady, as I am afraid of seeming fiscally irresponsible to her. For good reason, I might add, as I am fiscally irresponsible, but that's a story for another day. If I had my way, new music would be the largest expenditure outside of rent. As I'm a growing boy, food has to usurp it as well as my 401k, but what the hell, you have to live sometimes, and

It comes down to this: I need that new Yo La Tengo, and and the new New Pornographers and I've been hearing such nice things about the new Pernice Brothers and now that I think of it I never did get Tallahassee by the Mountain Goats last year and I hear that the remix reissue of Forever Changes (almost two years old - the discipline I have!) is boss and this could literally go on forever if I let it. And it's not even boring to write about; it brings me joy. Joy. Joy!

I like just looking at my CD shelves. Shiny lists of some of my favorite music in the world. The problem is this - What if there's better music out there and I haven't heard it yet? That's not to say that I'm not, you know, a snob.; I mean, I am a snob (did you mean to say you are a snob?) Completists - the more precise nice word for people that have the Sickness - don't have a lack of discernable taste but rather, they suffer from too much of it. I imagine that the internet, with its various permutations of Kazaa, Grokster, Soulseek, is probably "helping" some of the B-Side freaks out there, taking precious dollars from semi-obscure cdCD importers so some doughy PJ Harvey-lover can get his greasy paws on her voluminous collection of singles from England or Germany or, the place where completists find their loves, their, hates and their bankruptcyies - Japan. The land of the rising sun is home to more bonus tracks, b-sides, and country-specific effluvia than the rest of the world combined. Cheap Trick famously found their fame there and many a power-pop group have gone there past their US heights ton find a more loyal following on their hallowed shores. (not about CDs or collecting) They alsoeven have their own little gatefold (?) mini-LP things that make those with the Sickness drool with envy (with the imaginings of ?).

This next section also has nothing to do with collecting CDs
(Trolling the internet at work, recently, I found me a little community of fellow losers on Yahoo Groups. It's a group of mostly fellas who spend their days spamming each other with exhortations that Revolver is clearly the greatest achievement of the Beatles or that Pet Sounds is grossly overrated and should be listened to by only those who live in their parents' basements. I took umbrage toby that statement., of course, because Iit's been years since I lived in anyone's basement, let alone my folks. )

It's called the Sickness. The Problem. The Pleasure That Knows No Bounds. I recently heard an anecdote about a guy who buys so many CDs that he hides them in the trash in the garage until he's sure his gal isn't home so he can sneak them in tohe house and hide shelve them inside his already voluminous collection. As extreme as this sounds, I know how he feels. You know once the records are in there, you're golden; she'd as soon notice that a new CD is hanging around as my color blind ass would notice her new hair color. (dream on, every woman knows what is in her house)

(Well, OK, so there are those every few months when I make the mistake of saying I'm short on cash or something and she turns to me and says "there's 14 more inches of music stacked up behind your old jeans in the spare closet that didn't come from the library and aren't even close to looking like the used bin at Ameoba that say you haven't taken me out to dinner in a while and we need some fucking milk.")

This, of course, doesn't make it right, it just makes that part of it easy. Now, I've told myself that I should get online and just steal all of these tunes from the artists that I have come to know and love, but I'm on the goddamn internet 45 hours a week at work and I can't seem to bring myself to pay for that privilege at home - my desire to thieve and pillage from my heroes and rock gods notwithstanding. So, instead I go down to my friendly neighborhood record store (Aquarius Records - you can read about them here) and give them an ungodly proportion of my earnings for these little digital packs of joy. It could be worse; I could be a stamp collector or into Magic: the Gathering or Beanie Babies or some freak like that. No, thanks, I'll take this lonely over that, thank you. (check out the beanie babies on eBay)

 

 


Mike Doughty



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