Monday, April 14, 2003

I went solo to the record sale at the Croatian Cultural Centre on Sunday. Sox wasn’t in the market for anything (ensuring more ELO LPs for everyone else), and neither was Scum… Even the Pantleg Guy skipped this one, I think. I wasn’t in a big buying mood but I had two or three really specific items I was looking for. I couldn’t find any of them. I overheard lots of kids asking for Iron Maiden albums. What’s up with that? Granted, Maiden are a quality outfit, but I’d think they had limited cross-generational appeal aside from possible irony/humour value. Maybe it’s because Sum 41 are always namechecking metal bands (these kids looked too hip to be Sum 41 fans, though) or maybe the twin-lead action of bands like Converge is inspiring youngsters to check out the forefathers.

I also overheard some amusing prog conversations. I could have jumped in if my need for anonymity didn’t override everything else. I also fear my own kind. I wasn’t there to make friends. One guy came up beside me at a table and asked the dealer, “Do you have any European prog? I’m looking for a Belgian band—they used to be Univers Zero, but now they’re called Present.” Now Present happen to be a favourite of mine, and a band that I’d never let a loved one hear in a million years. To have a stranger mention them within earshot was a little unnerving. I had to slowly back away.

At another table a guy started telling his dealer friend about the Baja Prog Festival. PFM were there and so were Focus, but Thijs Van Leer couldn’t play flute because his face was all paralyzed from a stroke, which was a drag. Apparently Ange, from France, blew everyone away and sold mass merch. Man, it’s painful enough reading about these fests on mailing lists and newsgroups, but to hear about it in person? I clenched my jaw and kept rifling through the bins. The other option was to yell “bastard!” and brain him with the nearest Bruce Springsteen live box set.

I left with a copy of The Toyko Tapes (Scorpions with Uli!), an old Alice Cooper album, and a severe acute case of album finger.

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