Sunday, April 17, 2011

Record Store Day

In Fairfield, Ca. the only place for records and tapes was Eucalyptus Records.  It was the flagship store of a small Northern California chain, which at the time had maybe 6 stores total. It was your typical record store of that era, hip, laid back and staffed by people who actually liked the music. My almost daily purchases soon caught the attention of one person in particular, she was a petite blond, and I think her name was Judy. Whenever I walked up to the counter, Judy would rush over to see what I was buying and then she would announce to her co-workers "See, I told you, he has good taste." I was flattered, but I soon started to feel the pressure, my choices had to be on the money.  One day I went in looking for a copy of Lenny Kaye's Nuggets album, which had just been re-issued. Judy was at the counter, I asked her "Do you have the Nuggets album?" I started to explain it to her, when she cut me off with a snarl, "I know about Nuggets!" As I waited for her to bring the album back to the counter, I decided to chance it "Hey, do you want to go to San Francisco and check out the record stores?" she quickly replied "Naw, I won't go to the city and I have a boyfriend" she then pointed her thumb sideways towards a tall blond guy behind the counter. Ah!, The Chaser, he knew nothing about music, his job was to lift crates and go after shoplifters, it made perfect sense. Although I expected to get shot down, the reality of it still sucked. I avoided the store after that, instead I made the twenty mile drive to Tower Records at The Concord Mall. Then one day, I stopped by again, Judy was there, her boyfriend wasn't. As I browsed the vinyl, two Samoans walked in, back then most stores kept the cassettes behind the counter locked behind sliding glass doors. The two stepped up to the register and started asking for several tapes, which Judy then stacked on the counter. Suddenly, the smaller one grabbed a display case and flung it into the air, during the resulting ruckus, his partner grabbed the tapes and they both jumped the turnstile (yes!, the store had one) and they bolted out the door. I saw Judy look my way as she yelled "Stop Them" I went over the turnstile, and caught up to them just as they got to their car, the big guy turned around with a raised fist "What the fuck are you doing?" he asked, "Trying to impress that girl" I replied. He grinned and then grabbed me by my shirt and threw me against the car next to us "You're doing a real good job, brah!" he yelled, as he jumped into the getaway car. Judy came running out of the store as they drove off. I picked myself up, then I heard her yell "Why did you let them get away!" she then stomped back to the store without another word.  As I limped back to my car, I heard a few people laugh, but it didn't bother me, I was totally numb. It was then that I saw a Pablo Cruise cassette on the ground, Big Boy had dropped it, "Fuck Me!" I thought, shitty music to end a shitty day."  
(Judy is a pseudonym, after thirty plus years I couldn't remember the girl's name)