Wednesday, 25 December 2013


Bad Ju-ju or Lost Mojo

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 documentary.

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 Napa Valley 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 latest Bowie 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.

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