Last Saturday morning, I trekked over to Harvest Records, who were having their 6th anniversary sale. Harvest is what passes as the best record store in the area. They’ve succeeded in becoming a magnet for the young and hip, and power to them for that, but I’m old and post-hip, so they’re really not a store I feel the need to visit more than twice a year in a “that’s interesting” kind of way. I surrendered my hip credentials around 1990 when I stopped loving the fruits of contemporary youth culture as fully as I previously had. Given that my taste in music was already left-of-center/peripheral, I shouldn’t have been surprised when any music values I championed had their day by 1990.
Be that as it may, I arrived there by 11:30 and the joint was jumping. The small, oddly shaped store was writhing with shoppers seeking the dual enticements of great selection and one-day only sale pricing. It was when I entered the building that an old, familiar smell assaulted my senses.
No, I’m not talking about musty vinyl. I’m talking about stinky, pungent young men who seemingly never bathe. And they are often there were records are for sale. Many was the occasion when I was attending record shows back in the 90s, when I would leap out of bed with the excitement of a record show on a Sunday morning, only to find myself a couple of hours later in a large room filled with pungent, smelly guys in black tour shirts jostling the boxes to the left and right of me. More than once my desire for new, obscure records hit the proverbial brick wall and I just left in disgust at the repugnance of it all.
Let me assure the gentle reader that my personal modus operandi is to always bathe before lurching out of my home to mingle with the loving public whether for business or pleasure. I’m not asking for Paco Rabanne, just some interest in basic personal hygiene. On this particular Saturday morning, I was freshly shaven and showered/shampooed just an hour or so earlier before beginning my public day. Like I am on every Saturday morning when I venture out.
But Harvest was filled to the brim with young, fuzzy, Asheville indie-rock types in Birks and shorts, who amazingly enough, smelled just like the fat, hairy (older) metal dudes in black tour-shirts that attended record shows in Orlando, much to my olfactory dismay. So to lay my preconceived notions to rest, it’s not the music at play here at all with the slack hygiene. It’s just the dudes. Thankfully, about a third of the shoppers at Harvest were female. A big change from record shows in the 90s. That mitigated the aroma on offer somewhat. But what is it that causes young (or not so young) men who are record collectors to eschew bathing? Is this just a pursuit largely comprised by losers and loners??! Even when didn’t have a girlfriend or wife, I still had basic self-respect.