House of Blondes:
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl is the focus of one of my earliest memories: a Friday afternoon record store visit to buy an album with my allowance.”

“The store was perfectly centered at the top of a hill between a magazine shop and a barber, a busy street where trees battled against the exhaust from old buses. Everything on the block led your eye to that store, which looked like it was from a better planet than all that surrounded it. In the front window were large colorful posters, dozens of album covers artfully displayed, a mirror ball in the center, spinning forever and reflecting what felt like the entire world. Finally being old enough to go in and shop alone was an epic event that required the right clothes, the right knapsack.

Inside was dark, with wall to wall black light posters, rack after rack of the latest hits, the clerks and their counter sparkling and towering above, the biggest KISS poster ever made, loud music – no nine year old boy could possibly resist. There was an overwhelming selection and I could only afford to buy one album. It wouldn’t feel right at this moment to divulge what that album was, but know that it was THE GREATEST ALBUM EVER MADE. When I held the vinyl copy of that album it felt substantial and necessary. I wanted to browse and be fascinated there for hours but was only allowed about 15 unforgettable minutes on that first visit.

Seconds after leaving the store it became an obsession and everything I had went into buying more records. An alarming number of albums, singles, 12 inches – I still own them all, always will – the bedrock of an ever-expanding collection.”
John Blonde

“The first music I ever owned were two albums given to me on Christmas – one from my grandmother, one from my parents. The Little Drummer Boy and Destroyer by Kiss. Both on vinyl. I’m pretty sure I wrote to Kiss, care of the Kiss Army, at the address on the inner sleeve. I’m not sure what happened to The Little Drummer Boy. I don’t think I ever wrote to him.”

“I remember the vinyl bins at K-Mart. Even under fluorescent lights, the cover of Paradise Theater looked pretty good.

Growing up I bought a lot of cassettes. But I remember deciding I really wanted records because of their inherent random access (‘though I didn’t know enough to call it that). I’d had enough FF’ing and RW’ing through my tapes. I figured I’d try not to scratch up the records, and when that failed, there were always more pennies to tape to the tonearm.

I remember playing The Turtles’ “I Know She’d Rather Be With Me” 45 for the girl I was sure, at the age of six, I was going to marry.

I remember lying on the floor underneath my neighbor’s vintage (even at that time) Zenith turntable as it spun Abba records. I remember the glowing vacuum tubes. I guess I never really got over them.

I remember the first time I held a vinyl record that I’d actually helped make in my hand. Somehow, it was more real than the CDRs most of my clients were burning at that point, and certainly more real than the AACs and MP3s most of them are releasing now.

I remember feeling that here was a physical link to the past – back to that old Zenith (currently residing in my apartment), back to KMart, back to childhood sweethearts, and maybe all the way back to Grandma and The Little Drummer Boy.”
Chris Pace

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