and whitney came from nashville with a suitcase in her hand

I think my priorities are slightly out of whack. I have a list of things I actually need (toothpaste and shampoo, for one; a new laptop, for another–this one’s been giving me the blue-screen-of-death roughly every five minutes, let’s see if it lasts the length of this blog), but instead of buying them when I have money readily available, I buy other things. Things like a new bookshelf (which I did actually need, but not necessarily urgently) and a record player to set upon that bookshelf. And three records.

Yes, I have joined the company of people who buy vinyl.

I bought an absolutely hideous, tacky, and ridiculous record player last night; it is so ugly that I can’t even bring myself to think of it as endearing or charming or nostalgic. So basically, it’s perfect for me. And yeah, the speakers might not be the greatest, but the scratchy-scratchy sound of the needle on the record is just too beautiful to resist.

I got a little bored yesterday afternoon and decided to check out Grimey’s on 8th Ave South. It had that quaint, independent record store feel to it, and the staff were much less snobby than the staff at Crooked Beat in Adams Morgan. I knew exactly what I was looking for, but that didn’t stop me from spending almost an hour browsing the shelves before I checked out. I didn’t want to go too edgy for my first vinyl purchases, so I went with my current musical staples: The Hold Steady’s Stay Positive, The Gaslight Anthem’s The ’59 Sound, and Ryan Adams & The Cardinals’ Cardinology.

Rather obviously, The ’59 Sound is a perfect album to listen to on vinyl. And it makes a wonderful soundtrack to assemble heavy furniture to. Cardinology came in the form of a bright red, translucent disk that made me really happy when I pulled it out of the sleeve. (I’m also excited to mention that I bought tickets to see Ryan Adams & The Cardinals on March 15 at the War Memorial. If rumors are to be believed, it might be the only opportunity I have to see him live, ever.) And Stay Positive is a four-sided, behemoth of a thing, with two discs and very pretty lyric sleeves.

I’m already plotting my next purchases: Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde–an album I don’t even own on CD!–and possibly Marah’s Kids in Philly if I can find it, or If You Didn’t Laugh, You’d Cry if I can’t. (More live music news: Marah have recently been recording their new album–and doing it here in Nashville, no less!–and have re-grouped after their little break-up last year and are going on tour. They’re making an appearance at The Basement on Feburary 21 and this is probably the best news I’ve had in months.)

Moving on to other topics, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss is making me remember why I used to want to be a writer. And why I used to want to be more Jewish than my great-grandfather on my mother’s side allowed. Here’s just a quick example, because I’m saving a full-length review for later:


My brother and I used to play a game. I’d point to a chair. "THIS IS NOT A CHAIR," I’d say. Bird would point to the table. "THIS IS NOT A TABLE." "THIS IS NOT A WALL," I’d say. "THIS IS NOT A CEILING." We’d go on like that. "IT IS NOT RAINING OUT." "MY SHOE IS NOT UNTIED!" Bird would yell. I’d point to my elbow. "THIS IS NOT A SCRAPE." Bird would lift his knee. "THIS IS ALSO NOT A SCRAPE!" "THAT IS NOT A KETTLE!" "NOT A CUP!" "NOT A SPOON!" "NOT DIRTY DISHES!" We denied whole rooms, years, weathers. Once, at the peak of our shouting, Bird took a deep breath. At the top of his lungs, he shrieked: "I! HAVE NOT! BEEN! UNHAPPY! MY WHOLE! LIFE!" "But you’re only seven," I said.

Rereading that, I think I had it wrong before. I didn’t used to want to be a writer. I wanted to be the writer–of all my favorite books and poems and songs. I think that’s maybe why I have so many books: I can’t compete with what’s already been written, so I collect all the lines I can get my hands on.

Well, I guess there’s always the possibility that someday I’ll quit my job and become a war correspondent so I have a legitimate excuse to write a memoir. (How’s that for combining a BA in English and a semester’s-worth of an MA in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs?)


6 Responses to “and whitney came from nashville with a suitcase in her hand”


    This is amazing news on so many levels: firstly, because a new album would make me unbearably happy and I’m desperate to see them as a five-piece. And also, because I think it’s probably no secret that I’ll be planning my US trip around seeing an appropriate band in either NY or TN. Marah are certainly on that list.

    I cannot use my record player at the moment because one of the speakers on my hi-fi is bust and I’d rather come see you than replace the thing. And I cannot play my Cardinology vinyl, because it never arrived and the Ryan Adams online store has not responded to my carefully crafted emails on the matter.



    The rest of the above stands ;)

  3. Lis, when you get here, we can play Cardinology on vinyl as long as you’d like. No guarantees on its condition at that point, though, because I’m already noticing little skips every now and then.

  4. 4 Mom

    Now I think I’m in the mood to see if my record player still works and get the old 33 & 1/3’s out! So that’t what I just did and guess what….it works! I’m listening to Bob Seger as I write this and am loving every minute of it! Thanks for setting the nostalgia tone for the evening….right before the Premiere of LOST!

  5. 5 Katrina

    I gave a record player away a long time ago, and we have the first one Patrick’s parents had as a married couple. I played Portishead live from NYC album on it which was good..but then Michael Jackson’s Thriller and that was even better. I love vinyl.

  1. 1 from a rooftop i gaze across my broken city; at [last year's girl]

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