I made a long overdue visit to the soon-to-be defunct Bleecker Bob's record shop this past weekend. You can read more about the closing HERE.
Friends had been sharing stories of this legendary hangout and I felt a bit left out. Most of their stories had been positive, yet all of mine had been terrorizing. One of the most memorable days of humiliation, though in retrospect, I probably deserved it, was when I had asked for the 12" remix of Nena's 80's novelty "99 Luftballoons." I had been DJing the Circle Line booze cruises at the time, and well, you needed the hits. Bob himself sold it to me, but not before shouting out in front of a packed house:
"Could we get a 99 Luftballoons 12 inch so this guy can put it up his ass?"
Really. I kid you not.
Another visit, less humiliating, but more aggravating, was when I had come in search of both LPs by East L.A. punkers The Plugz. Those records had gone out of print very quickly, and were not that easy to come by. Bob had both, on his wall, priced at $50 a pop. This was 1986. I wanted them, and you know when you want something....
I asked if he would take $80 for both and he agreed without incident. I left happy and continued east for more record shopping. I hit Sounds on St. Mark's Place, where I found both Plugz LPs priced at $5.99 and also at Free Being, around the block on Second Avenue, for $7.99. Of course, I stormed back to Bob's, and I was barely ackowledged, nevermind the price discrepancy.
The trip on Saturday was nothing like those days at all. Chris, the manager featured in the New York Times article, was alone behind the counter, and couldn't have been more helpful or pleasant with both regulars and tourists alike. I was suddenly shaken by the thought that still one more slice of the New York I once loved, will now be lost to yet another Starbucks. Not to mention, another record shop biting the dust.
I found a few gems, including a Split Enz record, the first Rickie Lee Jones, a lost soul classic that had been on my want list for ages by Tommy Hunt and a 1998 reissue of John's Children, Marc Bolan's pre-T. Rex band of psychos. All were reasonably priced, and Chris entertained me with very short stories on each, as he wrote me up. A lost art if you ask me.
It was a good visit. I never thought I'd say this but, I just might miss Bleecker Bob's.
In the meantime, this John's Children's album is amazing! Always loved the nugget "Midsummers Night's Scene," but I had no idea just how kooky and melodic the rest of it was.