Monday, April 23, 2012

Records: The Epilogue

Never have I seen so many copies of Paul McCartney's "Ram" in one place at one time. Ranging in price from $2 to $20, it seemed that all 60 dealers at yesterday's Brooklyn Record Riot had a version to hawk. I had one. $8. I came home with it, along with about 85% of what I showed up with. This does not mean the Brooklyn Record Riot was not a success.

Yesterday's miserable weather did not keep people away from the event. It was a solid turn-out, with browsing as steady as the rain. John, who runs the show, is about as friendly and cooperative as you could want someone to be; atypical of the record guy stereotype. As for the dealers, again, a mostly friendly bunch of music-lovers, slightly eccentric, but all seeping with passion for the LP. Many were, if not exactly eager, politely accomodating, as I took some time away from our table to search for my wants. Some offered a discount without my asking. A few records were priced much lower than expected---$10 for a mint, original Black Sabbath "Master Of Reality" and an original Decca "Who's Next" for $2.50, to name but two---so I simply purchased, checking the phrase "Can you do any better?" at the door.

With the hubbub surrounding Record Store Day and records in general, I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed in my take for the day. Weeks of preparation, while agonizing over what to bring and how much to tag each of my LP treasures, probably set me up for the let down. Aside from a rare Barbara Lynn album that sold for what it should sell for, most of my prized possessions, under-priced by Goldmine and completed auction standards, sat as they were molested but never taken home. Did I overevaluate the appeal of a beautiful U.K. Walker Brothers gatefold in mint conditon? Or the scarcity of mint copies of both LPs by East L.A. punk legends, The Plugz? Or maybe I should have brought more Hall & Oates records, since I had three and sold three. There's no real answer.

Earlier I mentioned how the dealers were mostly friendly. I say mostly because there always has to be one bad apple. This particular apple had a face that looked as if it was caught in the doors of a bus, and a disposition that rivaled a drunken Joan Crawford.

There is a courtesy among dealers, as each of us sets up our tables before the show is open to public. People pay a premium for early admission so they can get to the "good stuff" before anyone else, and dealers like to look and buy for themselves, as well. I wandered off for a bit and found within seconds, a beautiful copy of Mott The Hoople's "Mad Shadows," as well three more gems in the very first box I perused. I smiled, I swear, and asked Daddy Dearest as I handed him my records, "I'm a dealer, can we do...?"

"No! Nothing. No discounts. Not now!"

9:45 A.M., and I'm already wound up. I placed the records back and dejectedly made my way back to my table, like some kid who didn't make the team. As my selling partner offered after I told him what happened, "Don't bite off your nose to spite your face." The Mott album was priced just right, as was The Cure's singles collection.  I skulked back, found those two, paid the prick, and that was that...until about 4:45, and two beers later.

The day was winding down, so I decided to finish browsing. I went back to Grumpy LeDouche's table and found what I had left earlier, as well as a few more and asked again, "Are we still firm on the prices?" Mr. Congeniality, a bit more receptive than earlier, said, "Put together a pile."

 "Well I bought the..."

"You bought two fucking records from me!"

This time, I fought back.

"I know what I bought. I was simply reminding you what I already had plus what I have now. That would be a fucking pile!"

He wasn't impressed. He just looked away, and shoved my (his) records back in his box.  A dealer right next to him must have been privy to his behavior the whole day, as he shot me a forlorn look. I decided to look through his boxes and found a nice Joni Mitchell, a Grateful Dead, and the first two albums by the Stories. He quietly said as he nodded towards Hubert H. Hump, "Sorry about that," and finished with, "Just give me ten bucks for those four," which had all been marked at $4 a piece.

That little gesture took the sting out of what may have made a mostly fine "Brooklyn Record Riot" end on a terribly sour note.

I think I'm going to just listen to music for a few days. No pricing, no bidding, no cleaning.

Just listen. It never fails.


oldkdawg said...

Only takes one ______ (fill in with whatever term you want) to run a great time. Seems like whatever you bring the least of is what people want the most of. Never fails. Flush the bad stuff and enjoy all the good times that were had.

Les said...

"Grumpy LeDouche" Hilarious!

FD13NYC said...

I agree with oldkdawg. Sometimes there's a few dealers (scumbags) who won't budge on anything. Why bring your wares if you intend on not selling anything, ridiculous. And then, in sort of close quarters like that, you pass their table every so often through out the day and shoot them the stink eye, unnecessary but worthy.

Oh well, chalk it up to one more experience in life you got through. Now go clear your head for a while. Remember you've got some good music to post.

Noam Sane said...

You tell a great story, Sal. It's all part of Life's Rich Pageant, as Micheal Stripe might say.

Stories albums? Really?

Sal Nunziato said...

Thanks Noam. Those first two Stories are damn good.

Christine said...

You do tell a great story. Sorry the selling didn't go as well as you would have liked. Hopefully the humping douchebag had a worse day.

ASH On The Beat said...

Great post Sal! I think you encapsulate everything there is about record fairs in one post.

Think on though, it's just one out of them all.

I have a dealer local to me who overprices everything, rarely sells it and tries to outdo buyers with his superior knowledge.

He's known for it. Solution is he struggles, we buy it from people more accommodating and his shop remains a tumbleweed connection.

The Stories albums are ace.

steve simels said...

Sal -- we would have attended, but the G train was completely fucked up.


Sal Nunziato said...


Please! Missed ya, but no worries...unless you were going to buy a whole lot. ;)

Anonymous said...

Sal, totally unrelated, I know, so forgive me - but have you been saddled with the new blogger interface yet? I just don't get why they have to change something that was working perfectly well to an interface that seems far more complicated. They're becoming so authoritarian! Dave

bglobe313 said...


Typically great story. Definitely agree with Les on the marvelous-ness of the nickname "Grumpy LeDouche". Now, that's ace.

Given my too-shy-shy personality, it's these a-holes who basically kept me from getting further into record shows and collecting (pre-online). I just couldn't handle the attitude and couldn't figure out how getting to make a (possibly tough) living working in the field of what you love wouldn't make one at least semi-happy.

And it's really true that the 10% like that "screw" it up for the 90% who are really decent people once you get past the oddity that many of us have.

Wish it had been a better day for you, but hang in there. At least from what I see in the Boston area, there's a new generation of collector "kids" coming along.


Sal Nunziato said...


You know, I've been hearing from Don over ASH, about this new interface, and now you mention it. I've noticed nothing unmanageable. Not yet, anyway. What exactly is the problem?



When I had the shop, I know I had my moments. But so many years later, these same guys still haven't gotten over it. It's supposed to be fun.

I had to buy something from a store in Madison, WI., because none of the stores in NYC would answer a question over the phone about stock on RSD.

Oh please...