A Few Things, Quickly, Then:

The sky over Madison Avenue is a sliver of summer blue. Steam sighs and whirls up and out from the old street like a thin white curtain in the wind. A few things, quickly, then:

1. We're working on the Buyer's Guide. By around 7pm tonight, I will be blind with numbers and bullets, "Y"s and "N"s and dollar signs spotting my vision like black and white floaters. Times like this, I really need an assistant.

2. Our summer intern, Ariel Bitran, left us a few months ago. Got a full-time job out in Brooklyn somewhere, doing something surprisingly similar to what he used to do for us, only now his work makes someone else's life easier.

3. Sonny Sharrock's immortal Ask The Ages might be the most beautiful thing ever created. I want it to be played at my funeral. That seems like a strange thing to say, but it just sort of fits. I own it only in MP3 form. Not sure if it's ever been released on vinyl. I'd pay just about anything for it, maybe.

4. Matador Records is having a summer t-shirt sale. All tees are 50% off. That means they're just $10 each. And they're including iTunes download cards with every purchase, while supplies last, so you might want to hit that up. Use discount code, "summershirt." I'm not expecting summer to end any time soon.

5. I'm not expecting summer to end any time soon.

6. I signed up for salsa lessons. That's right: dance school. My love for the music of my people will now be fully realized through hips and spins and flourishes.

7. And, who knows, I might meet someone.

8. Sometimes I feel a strange and profound longing for everyone I've ever known and loved. Like I miss them, all, a lot. This usually happens on weekends. When this happens, I usually go shopping for records.

9. Then I wish I had someone to play them for.

10. I cannot believe that Johan Santana is hurt now, too. What next? Will Citi Field pull a hamstring?

11. I wake up every morning singing "Keep Me in the Dark" from the Fiery Furnaces' surprising new album, I'm Going Away. The album takes everything I've ever loved about the Fiery Furnaces and squeezes it into a tight little ball.

12. I wake up every morning at around 5:30am, thinking of the Buyer's Guide.

13. I just finished reading Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives. It took me a lifetime to get through it. At the start, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. At the end, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. But for about 400 pages in the middle, I thought it would kill me. Now I want to read it all over again.

14. But I'm reading David Foster Wallace's Girl With Curious Hair. It really is the greatest thing ever.

15. So, too, are 78rpm records. At the Monkeyhaus last Friday, we had a little party. It was the best one yet. There were more people than ever, and they stayed later into the night than ever, and they were happier than ever, obviously. But 78s. What's up with all that glorious midrange presence? Certainly: thought-provoking, at the very least.

16. It sort of makes you wonder: What happened? (To music and to recordings, I mean.)

17. Seventeen is a very good number. The great, mustachioed Mets first baseman, Keith Hernandez, wore number 17. I think I'll stop there.

Smittyman's picture

It would be even more impressive if the spelling and grammar were a little better.

Trey's picture

Glad to have you back! Man, you are in for a busy few, hang in there. I have been listening to the Johnny Cash records, the ones produced by Rick Rubin. Man they are touching! I cannot listen to his version of "In My Life" without getting emotional. Check them out pal.Trey

Trey's picture

Smittyman, I see your point, but I kinda thought the awkward syntax gave it some charm and authenticity. But then I have lysdexia, um dislexia, shoot, spelling problems.

Art's picture

Regarding the Buyer's Guide, you might consider hiring an intern who is an accounting major where [s]he could practice their auditing skills. I bought the BG a few years ago and was surprised at how many errors plagued virtually every page. It showed a real disregard for a proper edit/audit of the information provided. Yet, I don't see these kind of errors in the monthly SP publication. Neddless to say, I haven't bought the guide since, it's just too unreliable and frustrating, although I love the idea of having a comprehensive place to look up quick specs. Sounds like BG is more of a have-to than a get-to for you.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Art: I'm sorry you were so disappointed in that old Buyer's Guide that you decided to never purchase another one. Which year was it? In any case, I don't have distinct modes for "have-to" and "get-to." There will always be errors, I'm afraid, but we've worked extremely hard to make sure that everything listed in our Buyer's Guide is as accurate as possible.

Eric B.'s picture

Ask the Ages is a fantastic album, one of my favorites. I don't think it has ever been released on vinyl. The CD is out of print, but not too tough to find, and it was released on cassette as well, but that seems rarer. Any Sonny Sharrock reissues on vinyl would be amazing, the old records are pricey and the couple I have found haven't been in great shape.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Eric B.: I know that his first two releases, Black Woman and Monkey-Pockie-Boo, have recently been reissued on vinyl.