Hot off the press... Birdman Sound
Well, it happened. There you were, strolling through the aspirationally wealthy and problematically gentrified neighbourhood in which you sometimes brunch, a few minutes early to meet a friend and shop for vinyl LPs. Having already purchased a coffee and made an Instagram story of some $25. burger combo you just swallowed across the street. You popped into a little shop called Birdman Sound, just to browse, just to pass the time. You’re an employed human of moderate means; surely you deserved a little look around. The holidays are coming, for one thing, and anyway you are still figuring out what to do about the precocious little fucker that belongs to your sister and it’s always useful to do some reconnaissance regarding buying a gift.
From the outside, the store looks really strange, not like the one’s in your own neighbourhood, from which you might purchase a Bruce Springsteen or Adele record and before the door was shut, you could tell something was off. The air smelled like Nag Champa incense and stale beer. There were too few items on the shelves, that you had ever heard of, if any! By the time you’d touched the first LP by some weird band called Spacemen 3, you knew : This is a too-expensive shop.
What should you do now? The first thing is not to panic. It’s an understandable error: Weird people stuff looks a lot like regular stuff these days; it just feels infinitely better to the touch and doesn’t break right away. Take a few steps inside, focusing intensely on whatever items are in front of you. Best not to look directly at the shop owner. His persona seems wild and scary and he will be named after some slang term for weed, and the whole thing will only make you feel bad.
Quickly scan the wall for the most colourful LP, then sort of pick it up and flash it in the direction of the shop owner, like there is some form of recognition. There is a small chance “Feck” might say something about it. No matter what the response, say, “I used to have an original of this, I got it in Paris.” (They have records in Paris, it’s fine.) A simpler option is to gesture to the wall and say, “Sorry I’m such dummy, just been living with my head up my ass for decades”. Do not describe what kind of enlightenment you’ve been deprived of or why that was the case.
Next, walk around, touching things with an insouciant air, such as one might have if you could confidently define the word “insouciant.” Do not look at price stickers; you are not the kind of person who cares if an LP is — $60. ?!?!? Do not break into a sweat or wipe it away with anything that looks like used tissue.
If it seems as if “Feck” is going to engage with you about an album, apologetically answer your phone and then say something along the lines of: “We just installed a kiln on the big boat; it’s been a nightmare.” This indicates that you are in possession of a) a regular ceramics practice and b) some kind of smaller, secondary boat. It also makes you sound exhausted by an elective construction project, which is the resting emotional state of the rich.
Casually flip through a stack of wax as if you appear to be partially amused and know it all, like that Jack Black motherfucker in Hi-Fidelity. It’s time to take the power back. Grab a record at random and — boldly — keep it in your hands. Now grab another one. Start a loose pile in your arms, as if this incense-scented cavern of $50 records is like no big deal. When “Feck” looks over, ask him to start spinning the albums for you. His already furrowed eyebrow will arch even more; do not lose your resolve. Grab whatever is closest, look him dead in the eyes and ask, “Do you have this on splatter?” “Maybe,” he’ll say, tilting his head in irritation. “I’ll have a look in the back.”
He will be looking for a moment or so. Now is the time to run.