Idols Melting in the Summer Sun

Pale and hungover and hiding behind enormous black sunglasses, they looked small in the full light of day. Indeed, stranded in the wilds of New Jersey, they were looking around themselves as if they had never before seen the full light of day.

The few mentions their Lollapalooza sets received in the music press that year would inevitably make some reference to “vampires caught out after dawn.” But the truth was, they didn’t look like anything so glamorous. They looked lost and forlorn.

The Reid brothers had always snubbed the conventions of rock star bombast. Early Jesus and Mary Chain shows in 1985 and 1986 had lasted twenty minutes or less, the Reids playing the entire time with their backs to the audience. Their first singles had been delayed by the Reids’ insistence that they be pressed with a ramshackle “Jesus Fuck” tune on their B-sides. Their drummer’s kit for those early shows consisted of two tiny snares, the bass player’s instrument had only two strings. Their music had been approvingly described as the sound of someone in another apartment down the hall, playing the Velvet’s “Sister Ray” at maximum volume while also shearing sheets of aluminum with a table saw. And the people—which in the Chain’s case meant the London music press, then the London club scene, then Anglophile college-radio geeks in America—ate it up.
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Vinyl Dreams in the Age of the iPod

ipod-vinylFor Christmas, I bought my daughter an iPod.

My wife seemed mildly surprised that I would buy an iPod for a seven-year-old (eight in April), but I didn’t see where I had much choice. My daughter has already outlasted her first portable CD player, a SpongeBob SquarePants model, and I saw no reason to invest once more in a “hard copy” disc-based technology that will surely have all but disappeared from store shelves by this time next year.

It’s a bright pink iPod nano, and she seems very happy with it. I also purchased an elegant little iPod-compatible boombox radio, for her room. I loaded up the iPod with a “starter set” of about 75 or 80 songs, and we all managed to be content with ourselves until April, when my daughter started asking for a cellphone.

Still, though, I experienced a small pang of regret, even as I was wrapping the iPod and boombox in Christmas paper. See, I own an iPod myself. I’ve already encountered first hand how an iPod changes the way you relate to music. So I knew that my daughter will never experience music the way I did when I was in my teens and 20s and 30s.

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Some people have dreams about falling. Or having their teeth fall out. Or that dream
where you’re back at your old high school, dreading an exam on a subject you know nothing about, and you realize you’re naked.

I have dreams about record stores.
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