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Tome On The Range

The Psycho-Geography of Record Fairs, By Johan Kugelberg
The Quietus , April 13th, 2012 04:09

If you want to know why we at the Quietus support going to Record Store Day over record fairs, then read this cautionary essay by Johan Kugelberg, taken from his new anthology Brad Pitt's Dog on Zer0 Books

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The Psycho-Geography of Record Fairs: Utrecht, New York’s Wfmu, and London Olympia By Johan Kugelberg

The commodification of all forms of culture – turning all its aspects into saleable things – and the rise of mass communications led to revolutionary potential easily being diverted, sometimes turned reactionary. – Guy Debord

I.

Do we collect records awake or dreaming?
Are we fueled by what the ancient Greeks called enthousiasmos: the ecstasy of the soul when it is communicating with a deity?
What does a record fair mean?
What happens at the record fair?
How do we feel while we are there?
How do we feel when we anticipate it?
Where does its powerful allure come from?
How have things changed as we nowadays fester in alienated consumption on Ebay?

II.

Does it matter what time you get in to the record fair? Whether you get in at four o’ clock for an extra 20 bucks, or if you arrive with the average joe at six o’ clock?

Or for that matter, if you chum up to a dealer and procure a coveted pass in the guise of being his helper. You know: like Santa’s little.

What records are found during that first two hours? What records are found during load-in? Rifling through a half-open box as the dealer subdues his cardiac-arrest in mid-shlep - powerlessly reflecting that the only exercise he’s had since hauling boxes at the last record fair is hauling boxes at this record fair. What records are found during load-out?

Who are those members of the true lumpen proletariat of record fairs who pursue the bins at a leisurely stroll in the last hours of the last day of the fair?

Not only are they in true abject contradiction of the bump and grind of opening night, but blissfully indifferent to the feverish transactions fueled by existential urgency that in some cases took place before the dealer had even removed his records from the u-haul!

There is a certain never-say-die panache of subtle one-upmanship when you spot someone you remember as a hardcore collector from way-back strolling into the Wfmu fair at noon on Sunday (last day) carelessly flicking through a bin or two. Dark are the stories told around camp fires cross country of said careless stroller purchasing a copy of the Mystic Zephyr 4 album in the Wfmu station-benefit dollar bin on Sunday afternoon. “True story,” sighs the hobo-esque record dealer who told the tale, emitting air in small puffs from a pursed mouth.

Does desire get satisfied?

Is the strife of this love inside a dream?
Does the record sell for more on Ebay?
(the dealer dreads and the punter hopes)
Does the record sell for less on Ebay?
(the punter dreads and the dealer hopes).

Has a bumpkin rented a table on behalf of his family, selling the personal collection of his recently deceased uncle, the editor in chief of a prominent hippie-era underground magazine, pricing all records and artifacts at two euros each, with the exception of the records that are unplayed, and come with the press kit, in which case they are four euros, or in case they are on a small label he has never heard of in which case he is selling them for one euro each? Yes. Dare I say yes? And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes, and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

And then we awoke. Alas it was only a dream. All the world is a record fair, and we are rarely players, mere punters and portrayers.

I was sitting in a chapel, at the funeral of an acquaintance, noticing a long line of strangers cueing up to the coffin. The man at the front of the cue laid his hand on the coffin and exclaimed: “Excellent! Would do business again! Five stars!” He stepped away. The next man walked up: “Smooth transaction, great seller, thanks!” And the next one: “A great ebayer with great shipping and perfect communication! A plus!”
This continued for quite some time. And then I awoke.

III.

The record fair with the most fear in the room is doubtlessly New York City’s Wfmu. There are plenty of unspeakably great and wildly rare records in the room, all haunted by the translucent spectre of pure paranoid angst.

I whisper his name:

Popsike

I whisper his other name:

Ebay

And the other names:
The Most Unclean
The Little Whore
Beelzebub
Son of Perdition
Lucifer.

This specter sides up to the dealer, who is holding a vanity pressing he just took out of his box of records that he has yet to price.

He couldn’t find any information on the record on-line, and not only does the record have a massive break on it, but also one song with a wild fuzz guitar solo, and one long tranced-out track with bongos and a flute.

A backpack wearing crate-digger wrapped in Evisu and Visvim with his record bag on wheels in tow asks him how much he wants for it.

He wipes the sweat from his brow.

How much do you want to pay for it?

I don’t know.

How much you want for it?

Well it is pretty rare…

The specter is whispering in both ears simultaneously. … I hear Cut Chemist is looking for it… I need to look it up on Popsike to see how much it is worth… It is on a Japanese comp… Maybe I should put it on Ebay… I wonder if someone has used the break… I shouldn’t spend a lot on a record, the fair has just opened…

The complex inter-personal dynamic between these two gents could give Tove Jansson or William Faulkner a one for the money and a two for the record show. Whether you believe that the Ebay-demon is real, or assess him as a figment of our imagination, or for that matter, address the concept of the demon as a half-baked metaphor used by a slovenly writer for his pursuit of moral judgements, you gotta admit that M.R. James would have had something to say about the eerie and uncanny emotional landscape of the Wfmu record fair. Guy Debord would have flailed and shouted about its abject psycho-geography, spilling his calvados. And Pieter Bruegel would have pulled his pencil out and started sketching, and Jacques Brel would have written a lyric about lost souls mired in life-long paralysis.

But I jest, just a little bit.

A VG minus of jest.

IV.

This year, the Wfmu record fair was less rugged than it had been for many years. I am trying to understand why. The reheated pizza was still miserable. You couldn’t buy coffee. The live radio broadcast transmitting from the event kept the already nasty booming slap of the noisy room marinating in a constant schmutz of avant-improv and free noise.

This was inter-spliced with the grating voices of the DJ’s: 30- and 40-somethings who feel like they are 20-somethings. “Not that there is anything wrong with that,” said the glass-house to the brick.

The dealers were in a particularly foul mood for the commencement of the fair, caused by the record load-in, which was seemingly based on cattle-loading techniques originating in Chicago slaughterhouses. The additional cause of the dealers’ collective irritation being the habit of European crate-diggers to unpack their boxes for them, and not stopping when yelled at, as the diggers were all listening to particularly slamming break-beats on their Ipod headphones. There were also a fair share of dealers who were truly miffed that nothing was really selling, and that the quality and knowledge of the clientele had really gone down the toilet. This assessment of the record fair situation becomes formally executed earlier for each year that passes. Apparently the record held is a northern soul dealer who started bitching about this at the fair before the dealers were actually let in to set up. Notwithstanding all this and that and more, as I said, this year the Wfmu record fair was less nasty and I just realized why: The ultra-harsh fluorescent tube lighting of yore had been replaced by something slightly less harsh. Apparently the numerous fashion fairs that are held in the space had all complained that the light made the customers look grotesque. Oddly enough, with the splendid new lighting and all, some people at the Wfmu fair still looked a bit on the grotesque side, a tad, a smidge. Like they’d stepped out of a drawing by Pieter Bruegel. But I jest, I do jest.

V.

Utrecht, Utrecht, how do I love thee?

When I attempt to convince other New York dealers and collectors to just go buy a plane ticket already, and visit what I think is the best record fair in the world, my rap usually starts with the anecdote about the 6’ 8” collector of Kim Wilde picture sleeves that sided up next to me as I was pouring over some bin at the Utrecht fair:

“Hallo! I am Dieter from Germany,” he howled.

“Howyadoin,” I mumbled.

“I am doing so good!” he bellowed.

“I have found so many today! So many Kim Wilde picture sleeve 45s! I collect Kim Wilde picture sleeves! What do you collect?”

For a split second the nasty Anthony Bourdain-style cynicism almost overtook me. You know the kind: where you choose to ridicule the enthusiasm of somebody else because what they like doesn’t fit your perception of what is cool. A powerful and dangerous mindset which rules many roosts of white middle class boys, an often applied survival kit for the person who was bullied in school, themselves becoming taste-bullies, or in worst case scenarios, taste-nazis. Like Sonic Youth. Or Vice Magazine. I didn’t fall in that trap.

“Kim Wilde! Cool!” I exclaimed. “I am looking for European disco 45s with ridiculous sleeve art,” I told him.

“OK!” yelled Dieter, rainman-style. “I will tell you if I find some! Please tell me if you see really cool 45s by Kim Wilde!”

“Sure will,” I replied.

Dieter wandered off, or rather, sauntered off. I watched his permed red hair bop down the record fair alleyway, disappearing behind a couple of Matrix-goths. I remember thinking how unbelievably psyched I was that I had met Dieter, and how Dieter’s raging enthusiasm for an artist best described as marginal was exactly the kind of holy quest that acted as a solid counter-weight to the kind of besserwisser mentality that usually reigns at record fairs. But then I started looking around: there were Dieters everywhere. Even the sour British psychedelic fatso dealers had a certain je nais c’est quoi of merriment that the very same dealers certainly were devoid of at the London record fair a couple of weeks later. Why was this? Well: it is Holland. The Dutch have an extremely old merchant class, and with that, they have the aspirational refinement and tolerance of said class. You don’t want to piss off customers, notwithstanding who those customers are, what they believe or what color their skin has. You also want to make sure that the success of your business leads to your kids having a better life than you, which means that knowledge, or how knowledge is stored, is respected whether it is books or records or paintings or ledgers or museums. It can also bring about a cosmopolitan hedonism, which is also good, international ideas of what is arousing, amusing or intoxicating brought to you by people from all over the world, trading in your most splendidly international ports.

VI.

The fair is tightly run, very professional. It is held in the middle of a ridiculously huge mega-complex that this very same weekend holds a giant sale of collectibles (Dutch kitsch rivals that of Ohio) as well as a book fair and a comic book fair, which means that if your attention deficit disorder is keeping you in check that day, you can wander away from the vinyl and Dieter, to enjoy the company of Dieter’s friend who is the world’s foremost collector and dealer of Rice Krispie box prizes (did you know that Snap, Crackle and Pop are Knisper, Knasper and Knusper in Dutch?). Look! His neighbor who will provide your life-span need for Italian erotic comic book figurines.

I am hard fetched to come up with a true downside to the Utrecht Record Fair. The closest I get to bitching is about the food, but the Dutch fast food also fascinates. It truly is in the spirit of Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch: it is grotesque. There are three foodstuffs avoided by the international record dealers, and eagerly gulped by the Dutch: Frikandellen, Kroketten and Waffles. The Waffles are gigantic and drenched in syrup, powdered sugar, sugary preserves, chocolate and whipped cream. They are what you think people eat at the county fair. I’d argue that the smacked-out sugar OD would even intimidate an eleven year-old boy. Frikandellen are extremely fucked up: a rectangular chunk of minced mystery meat (pork? chicken? cow? alpaca?) deep-fried not so much to golden perfection, more to gray/brown grease-bombage. The dense rectangle is then sliced down its length, smothered in peanut sauce, and served on a bun. Fucked. There are rumors that the peculiarly Dutch curry-flavored ketchup is also utilized. The Kroketten is (or can be) minced chicken or pork mixed with mashed potatoes, béarnaise sauce and vegetables, coated with a splendidly thick batter and then having its daylights fried out of it. The taste is oddly breakfast cereal-esque, with an added specialty flavoring of White Castle onion rings. Pretty damn scary. The international dealers sustain themselves on French fries. But beware: If the Dutch are left to their own devices, and the lionshare of the fast food professionals at the record fair are Dutch, they’ll smother your fries in what they call “frit saus.” This is mayonnaise as we know it. Adding a layer of fat to the layer of fat. The never-say-die battle cry of junk food connoisseurship as your arteries are visibly hardening for each and every terminal bite.

VII.

There are records everywhere. Records records records. In the morning of the Friday, which is dealer day and setup day at Utrecht, the vitality of the airspace is positively shimmering. People from all over the world are unpacking their wares. Overseas dealers are pacing the floor waiting for their international expedited parcel full of rare vinyl from their home country. Records that aren’t that rare in their home country, but that hopefully will fetch a fortune here in Utrecht. Plane tickets, hotels and meals are dear, so one must hope that the Peruvian, Brazilian and Mexican dealers have a mark-up of at least a few thousand percent. I hightail it over to the Mexican dealers first. Almost every year, I’ve found something special: talismans of pure magic, that sort of thing, usually in scratchy VG- condition, with picture sleeves as distressed and faded as the bizarro-world denim of upscale boutiques. There are rare records and then there are rare records, and then there are fucking rare records: As my collection of Mexican 70’s punk is completed by the acquisition of the Rock en el Chopo triple-LP, I marvel at the absurd ecstasy of this endorphin-rush, set in motion whence internet rumors, old discographies and fanzine articles gel together on the ol’ want-list, reaching acme as a scratchy and worn Moby Dick is harpooned by an Ahab with coffee-jitters, 8 am on a Friday morning in a sleepy Dutch town.

VIII.

As salted and peppered veterans of the interweb all know, spend enough nighttime hours far from the bed of your loved one, bent over in front of the pale demon white glow of the screen, ebaying away in your undermost wear, and you’ll find most of the records that were listed as “top wants” on that piece of paper tacked up on the bulletin board of the dorm room of your youth. All you need is cash, cash is all you need. Misfits singles, mint copies of albums by the Monks, the Sonics, the 13th Floor Elevators, the private press version of 'Strings of Life', a Beatles butcher cover, Velvet Underground and Nico in mono with unpeeled banana, easy as long as your paypal account can withstand a couple of grand. The ebay listings that utilize phrases like “impossibly rare” are plentiful, but how can the record be “impossibly rare” when it is right there, in front of you on the screen, with a buy it now of 1200 bucks? Popsike then tells you that five copies have been sold in the past year, so what is impossible is possible, even when the dealer tells you that it is de facto impossible, at least five times in the past year.

IX.

I witnessed a bit of what seemed like a healthy record gloat at Utrecht. Small packs of collectors, who had arrived at the record fair together, on a sacred quest as such, would upon finishing their 8-hour exploration sit down together for a show and tell, interspliced with bites of tenderly deep-fried frikandellen and kroketten. Their shimmering greasy fast food providing a pleasant visual counter-point to their cyber-goth clothing, or their original Sisters of Mercy 45s. This seemed healthy. It gave the record fair a natural end- zone, a coda, a moment of reflection before the spoils of war were brought home to the turntable. Oddly enough, at Wfmu, I didn’t see a lot of the sharing and gloating of spoils. Certainly, the lack of a café, and the general lack of space (this is NYC after all), didn’t provide a physical locale for the end game, but I sensed that some of the collectors did hoard like lost children, lacking in this aspect of the situation. I imagine that a couple of pirates would have shown each other the sum of their pillage after they had sacked and burned some Caribbean shore town. Or maybe this too, is the demon/spectre up to no good, whispering “Hush! Keep your records to yourself! They don’t need to know! You got the record, your precious!” This truly mirrors the alienated consumption of Ebay. Your selection is anonymous, you bid under a pseudonym and you unpack your precious treasure alone. So thank god for record blogs, where you can hype your recent finds, and attempt to increase their worth through the osmosis of the sound-file. This sometimes back-fires as records described as KBD punk monsters on the blog or in the Ebay description have sounded a bit like poorly played REO Speedwagon to these ears, and described “Acid Folk masterpieces” have come across like James Taylor or the hippie couple in Mike Leigh’s Nuts In May. Pure gloating is also an option. An obsessive Swedish psychedelic fatso posts photos of his latest rare record finds, like others post photos of their cats or their grandchildren. This comes across as a bit sad, lonely and unhealthy. I’d rather hang with the goths and their frikandellen.

X.

At record fairs, with portable turntable in hand, and if God and the dealer allow it, you have the opportunity to sample the wares, like you can do at all excellent used record stores, and never at the bad ones, a useful yardstick. Same can be used at the fair: The dealers who won’t let you drop the needle, for some reason, are usually the ones devoid of bargains. I couldn’t find one dealer at London’s Olympia record fair that readily and willingly let me sample their wares. This might possibly be as British dealers and collectors seem to be the vanguard pathfinders in the rarified field of the struggle against the second law of thermodynamics. In this world-view, the striving towards mint condition counter-acts our natural world of entropy, gravity and how mint becomes VG becomes G as in grave. A spurious moment along these lines was when a European record dealer listed a copy of the first Jefferson Airplane album in the Mint Plus condition in one of his record lists. Was it God’s own copy? Had someone snatched it from the Platonic idea of the pressing plant? When it comes to original copies of popular 60’s rock records, it seems as if the importance of the condition of the vinyl is contradicted by the physical well-being of the people who are safe-guarding their sixties memories through the collecting of artefacts. The records, posters and Beatles autographs are doubtlessly relics of the time of their lives, infused with such a potent voodoo of nostalgia that the psychotic amounts of emotional projection that is fixed on them is starting to be reflected by the stars themselves. One needs only to go to the grotesque Who documentary DVD Amazing Journey to hear a bunch of propped-up geriatric rockers inflict godlike self-importance upon the viewer, comparing their stage ass-wriggling and studio knob-twiddling with the people who actually did something actually important during the same era. That the sixties survivors believe steadfastly that what they did was for the better good of the world, instead the commodified expression of the spectacle that it was, is very sad. Autographs, posters, vinyl records in mint condition, saleable things infused with nostalgia, are not necessarily a bad thing. We drink a vodka drink and sing songs that remind us of our good times, but where the problem lies is where a period of time in your life is pin-pointed as the only one directly lived, and the remainder of your days being devoted to a representation of said times. The trickle-down of the 1967 yippie attempt to levitate the Pentagon in 2007 is the attempt of a sizeable crowd at a Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin concert to elevate a truly leaden sixties rock reenactment.

The Spruce Goose won’t take off, but we can pretend that it will. Even if the performance of the aging rock dinosaur is VG minus at best, his haberdashery isn’t, his conduct isn’t and his appearance on a mint copy of Get Yer Ya-Yas Out isn’t. The mood at the Olympia Record fair was defeatist. It was as if the collective dealers and punters had woken up in May of 1945 and found out that they were lieutenants in the SS. There were murmurings that amazing finds of extremely rare records had occurred during the first half hour of the fair, but all this had happened to other people. Besserwisser psychedelic fatso and blog-toad records were legion, but they were all priced within an inch of the price-guide. I couldn’t help but notice that the equivalent of the Utrecht punter show and tell herein dwelled within a dealer showing another dealer his fanciest stock before he took it home again. Like a livestock competition, except that the holder of the most beautiful steer or the largest pumpkin would take home a blue ribbon, where the record dealer had to make do with a bit of upmanship and gloat before the mint copy of Odessey and Oracle was put back into the box for another year.

XI.

History has ended, and what was once directly lived has now receded into a representation. Be it the nightly civil war re-enactment of 30-year-old gigs at the Masque, the Mabuhay, CBGB, or the 100 Club that take place in most major cities as we speak, or the Myspace pages of 50-something punk legends who hung out at the Mask, Mabuhay, CBGB or the 100 Club back then and won’t let us forget it. They’ll never die, as they are punk rockers, and as punk will apparently never die, neither will they. What do we do then? We gossip about Black Randy on our blog. We glance at pictures of Penelope Houston from 30 years ago and sigh. Forty years ago it was called camp. People looked at photos of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks and sighed. Susan Sontag wrote a good book about it. This was while the Seeds, Velvet Underground and the 13th Floor Elevators were having brand new records out. The people who were sighing over Pickford and Fairbanks weren’t swooning over the Velvets or the Seeds. Rather the opposite. And us, we never die, we collect those records, immersed in the sweetness of obsession aimed at a time and place that we certainly participated in with our breath, but certainly not with our bodies. It is not uncommon among fanatical record collectors to spend the span of their collecting career immersed in the years they just barely missed.

Some collect the romanticized trickle-down experiences of their older brothers and sisters, some collect the sounds surrounding the years of their actual birth, and some collect what they felt immersed in the zeitgeist of, but could not follow through as lifestyle, usually due to age, sometimes due to geography. This is bittersweet: It is possible that the collecting instinct stems from an attempt to reconnect to the very moment when art opened your mind to the endless possibilities of human expression for the first time. I think it started for me around the age of five, à la 'Rock & Roll' by Lou Reed, and then kept gaining strength (momentum) up until the catharsis of puberty brought punk rock seven-inchers within the general ballpark of Dogtown skateboards, Levi’s 501’s and Vans sneakers in commodity fetishism. Three events particularly warped my fragile little mind: The son of my nanny, Swedish rocker Peter Torsen, leaving his copy of the Velvet Underground and Nico and his issues of Zap Comix within my reach when I was very small. Attending the Don and Moki Cherry children’s jazz workshop at Stockholm’s Museum of Modern Art circa ‘70/’71, and listening to a radio show called Asfaltstelegrafen commencing broadcast in Sweden circa 1976, where the sandwiching of pub rock, 60’s punk, punk and 50’s rock & roll was presented as if that was a natural thing, which at that point in time it certainly wasn’t. This led me directly to the mind-blowing lifeline of rock & roll fandom, since I spent a chunk of my teenage years in a village of a few hundred people close to the arctic circle. Between rock fandom and skateboarding, an outsider status that unlike that of science-fiction fandom wasn’t necessarily anathematic to success with girls, branded me (some would say scarred) for a life of record collecting. Skateboarding I gave up after a particularly nasty fall in 1999.

I still miss it though.

XII.

Our emotional projection on the artifacts that remain of our youth’s cartoon rebellion is supposed to necessitate our belief system of extended adolescent self-worth. The hedge-fund lower- upper- management aging hardcore kid spending upper four figures on Misfits test-pressings is battling the same laws of gravity that middle-aged women struggle against at the plastic surgeon or the cosmetics counter. This battle, masking as against grave and ageing process, and against gravity itself, constitutes one of the most necrotic abrasions into the body-fabric of our very existence: this perpetuated falsity that only certain years in our life-span really truly matter. That life in our youth is worth so much more as a commodity, that once youth passes us by, we are obliged to forfeit what we directly lived and recede into a representation of said years for the remainder of our actual duration. Our choice of appearance, our choice of the most meaningful artifacts we surround ourselves with, our choice of the record we place in double plastic bags in alphabetical order, all representing time we address as lived in qualitative actuality.

XIII.

What sounds stream through our ears in our homes is very important, but more important is our choices of what sounds are to be streaming. The significance of the sound-event supersedes the experience of the sound-event. Whatever you do, don’t sell the records. It might be tempting to buy a Volvo station wagon or a bigger apartment that can hold both your dog, Iggy, and your first-born, Syd. Don’t do it. Look at your stereo, stare into the vortex of your turntable and remember that silence equals death. Even if you don’t listen to your vinyl anymore, the idea of being able to spill that copy of Love At Psychedelic Velocity you once thieved onto the turntable means that the disc isn’t gathering dust on your record shelf; it is levitating. Wicked gravity can’t hold it down, as it can’t hold you down, so the rare record or the botox injection as elixir of youth certainly does do the job you intend it to, but beware, the fix gets quicker and quicker, and you need more and more! We all enter the labyrinth and we build our own maze as we venture further into it, and such can the metaphor for life and/or record collecting reverberate. But does it have to be a labyrinth? Can’t it just be a repast, a good thing, a source of strength, a means of meditation? Sir Toby’s hobby-horse in Tristram Shandy, utilized by us all as a source of order when that is in short supply in our everyday life, or for that matter, as a source of disorder when we need some more of that to get through our book of days. I could think of worse use for empiricism than record collecting: Once the choices have been made of what sounds are to stream through our ears in our home, they can commence to stream, at least after the mailman has arrived and before we place them in double plastic bags.

XIV.

I wonder if Utrecht, Wfmu and London Olympia are entrances to the labyrinth, or if they are milestones within it, or mill-stones around our neck, or (gasp!) exits or perhaps toll booths? Are we lusting for death, death itself? Are we incapable of considering the passing of time? Or is it the opposite? Are record fairs well and truly Limbo, now that the catholics have given up their copyright claim, or should that be territorial claim? Have we brought Limbo into our homes? Does the instant graft-grift or grift-graft of an Ebay-win and the gratification we hope for not ever arrive at all? Camus’ Sisyphus is only ever stoked about the rare KBD-punk 45 he just won as he is logging on to bid on other records, the physical arrival in the mailbox of the actual record only reminds him of rolling boulders (his day-job) in order to afford to win other auctions.

XV.

Sometimes the map is on the territory and sometimes the map is the territory. As a turntable thrill-seeker, I will doubtlessly be going to plenty of record fairs for the remainder of this mortal coil. With the self-inflicted music biz disaster of digital downloading, vinyl is going to be collected and the Rolling Stones are going to symbolize rebellion for another century at least. Is this an ecumenical matter?

Maybe.

As I haven’t really answered any questions in this whiff of an article,

I might try to do so now, at the very end. So here:

Q: Do we collect records awake or dreaming?
A: We collect them awake, but we hope that the records will make us dream.

Q: Are we fueled by what the ancient Greeks called enthousiasmos: the ecstasy of the soul when it is communicating with a deity?
A: No.

Q: What does a record fair mean?
A: It means that alienated consumption isn’t that great.

Q: What happens at the record fair?
A: A lot of men venture further from their goal of having plentiful sex by looking for records that quite often sing about plentiful sex.

Q: How do we feel while we are there?
A: We salivate as our head gets struck by a mallet.

Q: How do we feel when we anticipate it?
A: We certainly salivate less.

Q: Where does its powerful allure come from?
A: The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living.

Q: How have things changed as we nowadays fester in alienated consumption on Ebay?
A: Finding a copy of the Spunky Spider 45 for less than 100 pounds means going through vast quantities of bargain bin 45s.

This essay by Johan Kugelberg is contained in the excellent Brad Pitt's Dog which is published by Zero Books

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brendan mcnulty
Apr 13, 2012 8:53am

i used to live in utrecht, and the record fair was my version of birthday and christmas rolled into one...

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Dan B
Apr 13, 2012 8:59am

Ah he uses the structure of Society of the Spectacle and *MASSIVE FART SPRAYING SHIT ALL OVER THIS ARTICLE*

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Tony Tales
Apr 13, 2012 9:19am

what pseud rubbish...

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John
Apr 13, 2012 10:52am

Johan, please. Stop writing.

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John A.
Apr 13, 2012 1:06pm

Dieter sounds awesome.

Good piece, most enjoyable.

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Labhrass
Apr 13, 2012 8:09pm

"...the striving towards mint condition counter-acts our natural world of entropy, gravity and how mint becomes VG becomes G as in grave..." : yes indeed. Mint is utopia, VG limbo and G or less hell itself. Or maybe hell is when the vinyl is visually perfect but plays like it has been attacked by a scissors..this is the real hell, the 'false' mint. Of course in that far-away epoch - '70s and before which many may not remember - sometimes the raw materials were of bad quality so that it was not really possible to create a mint disc to begin with. Even now that is still the case. So you can spend a lot of money on what seems to be a perfect product - mint, if you will - but the sounds delude. What disappointment. But the turntable thrill-seeker is condemned to buy again..and again...and again.

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jacques brel
Apr 14, 2012 5:02pm

je ne sais quoi

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Z
Apr 16, 2012 1:58pm

What a wonderful, wonderful piece.

One thing bugged me though: Fritessaus hasn't got a thing to do with mayo other than its looks. It's nothing but a sweet pastiche for those who haven't seen the light (yet) and can't stomach real thing. Kroketten are best eaten on a sandwich that's about to go stale with copious amounts of mustard. I couldn't care less about Frikandellen.

But the records make my head spin round...

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austy
Apr 25, 2012 5:55pm

that brad pitt book has got to be awful just awful...

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Dan
May 1, 2012 9:01pm

Complete rubbish. What a wanker.

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Jonan Stenhammer
Apr 14, 2013 6:10am

Test? I don't know what kind of social control experiment ya'll were up to but anyone who read to the end of this idiocy failed the test.

Kugelberg has always been a clown with more money and privilege than actual TASTE or intellect and his 10th-rate fake Byron Coley style writing is abhorrent; one can only hope it'd suck less in Swedish even then, in a universe in which Franz Berwald still exists, who cares?

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Apr 14, 2013 6:11am

In reply to austy:

hey, at least ZERO BOOKS got their name right because any press foolish enough to publish this simp's mewling deserves ZERO readers.

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