A few months ago I stared at the cover of The 78th Morningtide by B.R. Garm and in the fine print I read, "FOR LYRICS SEND S.A.S.E. TO: "BR" c/o STRANGE MAINE 578 CONGRESS ST. PORTLAND, ME." So I did. Last week my S.A.S.E. arrived with drawings on it -- a skull melted around the return address, crescent moons and upside down pentagrams, "(FRM U 2 U)" on the back. I opened it and out fell a punk rock flyer torn in fourths and covered with lyrics, and a green sheet of paper folded in half lengthwise, like a brochure. A man named Brandon had written in ballpoint pen across the top:
Dear Joe Miller -
When I wrote 'send SASE for lyrics' I hadn't planned on including this lyric sheet, but I did, so you are the only one who wrote for lyrics. Just in case you didn't get this, here it is, plus the complete lyrics for 'The 78th Morningtime' song - know you don't have that!
This lyric sheet has a title page, like a libretto. It's the only one that exists on earth. I put it in the envelope and slid it into the record I bought off Etsy.
My parents gave me my first record when I was four, along with a record player shaped like a ladybug, and from that day forward music defined me, gave my life ever-changing shape and purpose, and over the years I amassed and disposed of several large and very different collections—first records and tapes, then CDs and tapes, then MP3s that I stole and stole until music lost all its value.
Yesterday the UPS man brought me a great big box full of records. My record store friend picked them out for me after I sent him an email that read:
I'm wondering if you'd be up for looking for used stuff that you'd recommend in:
I'd never heard a single note of any of the records in this box. I separated them into three piles, one for folkiness, another for 70s weirdness, and the third for contemporary stuff and jazz, and the new Can box set, and I put them in chronological order. Last night I listened to side one of each of the weird 70s ones. This morning I started to do the same with the folk, until my wife went into the other room and closed both doors behind her, then I put on Can. She was into it last night, though, even Hawkwind; said she wanted to lick the red vinyl. My lizard brain loves colored vinyl. It loves to listen to music it's never heard before, and my mammal mind feels happy, too, knowing that it's going to listen to it many times again, and love it, and both brains agree that it's best on great big circles that you pull out of great big squares covered with beautiful art, that you paid for, that you clean with a velvet brush and a spritz of homemade spray, and the lamplight glows in the grooves, and the diamond tip, the fleshy grooves, the dogs sprawled out and yawning, and all of that. It makes life worth living. I took a video of my fingers flipping through the stacks and sent it to my friend who picked out the records and he wrote back, "gave me chills to watch it."