Monday, July 25, 2016
There's A Great Record Here Somewhere
The circumstances surrounding the acquisition of Simon Townshend's most recent LP, "Denial" make a great story with a terrific payoff. I hesitate to reheat a once boiling pot that has since cooled down, but I am here to entertain, and quite frankly, I doubt any of the persons involved read me anyway, so here goes nothing.
Well over a year ago, a very old friend asked me to help out with a presale for Simon Townshend tickets. I was happy to oblige, as it meant doing nothing but hitting a few keystrokes and laying out a few bucks, while making my friend's day. "I owe you one," she said after thanking me more than she needed to. I said, "If there's a vinyl copy of the new record at the show, could you grab one for me?" "Of course," she said. "I'll even get it autographed. She knows Simon.
Weeks later, I received a photo of my friend, inside the venue, holding my autographed LP. She was smiling. It was a great pic. I received a bill for $35.
Here's where it gets messy. Did I misunderstand "owe you one?" If I did, should I have at least been informed of the high price tag before the purchase? I just didn't want to pay $35 for a record, autographed or not. This incident spread amongst friends like mono in the high school bleachers. There was rampant friending and unfriending on social media and lots of he said/she said.
Unbeknownst to me, the LP was transferred from the possession of the friend no longer talking to me to a mutual friend, who was tasked to deliver the LP to me at my next record show, which she planned to attend. Also, unbeknownst to me, our mutual gave my now ex-friend the $35, which I did not want to pay in the first place. Now, I owe a different friend $35 for a record I sorta didn't want in the first place.
My friend never made it to the record show. Or the record show after that. When she did show at the next record show, she forgot the record. The next occasion, she couldn't bring the record because she had misplaced it. But I felt bad that she laid out the money, so I gave her $35 credit to buy some of my records. She did. We were even...except I still need the Simon record.
It is now a year later.
My old friend and I still aren't speaking. But I did have a garage sale last weekend, and my other friend showed up, spent a nice chunk of money on records and surprised me. "Look what I found!"
There it was. My autographed LP. Happy ending, 15 months later, though as I said, my old friend and I still aren't speaking.
The next morning, I decided to finally give the record a spin...but could not. The record was shaped like a potato chip. I'm guessing it had been "misplaced" on the sun, as it was warped. Badly.
Determined, I ordered another copy from Amazon, asked if I could return it because it was warped, and swapped the new flat copy with the old. Yeah, maybe that's cheating, but I figure Amazon owes me after hours of mind-numbing frustration, not to mention, stroke-level blood pressure, while being outsourced for customer service.
But the real reason I am here is to say, Simon Townshend's "Denial" is a fantastic record. I have featured the title track a number of times, most recently in this week's "Songs Of The Week." But the entire record is filled with gems. You can't help but hear brother Pete in both the quality and phrasing of his voice, and that's a good thing if you're a fan of The Who. But the songs do not resemble big brother's band. They are all Simon. Think "Empty Glass"-era Pete, but a bit more personal and a tad more commercial. "Denial" will remind you of Pete, but you will not mistake it for Pete. Simon Townshend's got something and this LP is worth seeking out.
I'd post one of the many videos found on YouTube, but all 600 were filmed by another friend, and I can't afford the inevitable lawsuit.
And to all parties involved, if by chance any of you are reading, we are all getting old. It's more fun talking to each other than not. Unless, it costs $35.