The cats are sleeping or grooming
themselves. The breakfast and lunch dishes have been washed. Friends from out
of town may drop by later this evening but nothing’s concrete. A bright, sunny
and mild winter’s day outside; it even rained this morning, weird, because
yesterday was a flesh-freezing minus a million. Another cigarette on the porch,
watching the birds flit about the feeder. Back inside, at loose ends, roaming
around an empty house with a full can of beer.
Come with me, let’s take the grand tour. On
one of the kitchen walls is a framed art deco Rolling Stones 1970 European Tour
promo poster. Beside it, also framed, is a show bill for a 1957 Elvis concert
in Buffalo, NY which may or may not be authentic. There’s
a Bob Dylan poster advertising a 2012 gig in Lethbridge, AB:
Don’t You Dare Miss It! We didn’t and the ticket stub proves it. There’s a Mick
Jagger light switch plate, and a Stones tongue logo magnet on the fridge.
There’s a miniature Memphis,
TN Elvis Presley Blvd. street
sign above the back door and a Liverpudlian Mathew Street L2 sign magnet on the
microwave shelf. There’s an Apple Records coffee mug in the cupboard, nestled
beside one that features the original album cover art of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
The stereo’s in the living room. There’s a
tower of song beside it, country, jazz and classical CDs. More CD trays are
secreted beneath various items of furniture. There’s vinyl alphabetically
arranged in the slots of the stereo console, more LPs leaning up against the
piano and still more on the floor in wooden Canada Dry crates.
There’s even more vinyl yet in the spare
bedroom and on a shelf in the den. There are shelves of music books in the den
along with a row of music DVDs. I intend to surprise myself Christmas morning
when I unwrap my new Springsteen & I
Not to be suggestive, but the bedroom is
next. Best not to go into the closet where the tour t-shirts are and you may
wish to look away from 1970 Vegas Elvis white jumpsuit figurine on the bureau
which I imagine to be grunting out the coda to Suspicious Minds, don’t you know. C’mon, you’ve gotta dig those
shoes. In one of the upper drawers are The Clash and Boomtown Rats pins I used
to sport on my Levi’s jean jacket – which still fits by the way and it’s only
been washed three times since 1976. Americana, the
just-released autobiography of head Kink Ray Davies is on the night table. On
top of it is Philip Norman’s recent Jagger biography. Years ago, after Mick and
Keith had both released their first solo albums, he published Symphony for the Devil, the definitive
Stones elegy. That book was the first purchase I made with a credit card. I
still have the book and the Stones are still working; go figure.
Symphony is in the basement. Careful, the stairs are steep and the light is
poor until you flick the Elvis light switch. Yep, more music books. Stones and
Elvis tour posters. Stones and Elvis figurines. Too cool, really. Oh, and
another thousand or so CDs. Pretty much everything ever released by The
Beatles, The Clash, the Stones, Bruce Springsteen and The Who; most of Van
Morrison, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, The Kinks, Lou Reed, Blue Rodeo, The
Faces, Rod Stewart (when he was good), Elton John (ditto), The Replacements,
The Del-Lords, John Hiatt, Steve Earle, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Green Day,
U2, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Roxy Music and Neil Young, man. You’ll notice
there are only some 30 Dylan albums - I still have some catalogue gaps to plug.
Blues, soul and reggae are over on this shelf because I’ve sort of set things
up to mirror the old record store racks and bins.
Pardon? It’s a little oppressive down here?
Well, it could use a fresh coat of paint and we’ve been talking about window
treatments. The other thing I’m thinking is maybe draping flags from the
ceiling, music ones, band logos and the like. I’m going for that rock ‘n’ roll,
sort of Bedouin, feel. Lava lamps and black lights, my kingdom to scare up a
gram of decent hash, just like the old days. Anyway, I hope to sell it in.
Let’s go back upstairs. There’s a Graceland
Cellars Jailhouse Rock merlot
breathing on the dining room table. I’ve also got a 2005 bottle of NapaValley
cuvee des Rolling Stones we can crack – red flavour, I think. See the iPod and
the dock resting on the chest of my grandparents’ silverware? The Stones tongue
pint glasses in the antique china cabinet? I like that juxtaposition of the old
and the hipper than thou. Post-modern irony, for sure.
Check out the year end issue of Rolling Stone
magazine on the table. I started reading it in 1975. These days I mostly just
flip through it. Anyway, I’ve got only one of their Top 50 albums of 2013 - the
which came out last March. I used to be good for 20 or 30 records on the list
as opposed to not having heard of 20 or 30 artists on the list. And I’ve not
listened to any of the editors’ Top 50 singles. Thing is, on a day like today I
feel like a Burgess Shale dinosaur fossil or one of those pre-historic bugs
trapped in amber. I just can’t put my finger on why exactly.