Sunday, June 11, 2006

Man Seeking Singles

I'm away for a week, but thought I'd leave something to read. This site was started as a place to put, and write more, singles scene's, a very particular piece of work I have done in the past, and continue to do, whereby I go to places that have 45 RPM singles for sale, I find Canadian ones, then write about them in a travelogue style. While I have used news and reviews as filler, the scenes is why I am here.

To that end, I have posted 5 scenes so far, and on this post I will link to them all:

#1 - Cambridge: ... Today I pull out The Stampeders Sweet City Woman.

Now here's a great place to start, the core of Canadian music. My three-year-old son dances happily as I play the song through. Same reaction I had when I was ten. The single looks like it was once owned by a ten-year-old too, although I'm not sure it ever really was. I remember the song, but I don't remember the single until later. The single is scratchy, as singles always were, and has a chip out of the corner, but it can be played; I can't count how many 45's I have owned with a chip out of the corner. Many have complained about the quality of vinyl records through the years, but the record players were made to play whatever you put on them. (Try playing a CD with a chip off the corner some day.) So despite the chip, the banjo comes on anyway; a few bars late perhaps but unmistakably the banjo of Sweet City Woman.

#2 -
Bayfield: ... Bayfield is a small tourist trap of a town, approximately 20 minutes south of Goderich, where we were camping for a week. The main street is a series of small houses painted white, with white picket fences and gingerbread gabling all around. The houses are in reality however, shops, restaurants and B&B's. Many of the shops of the antique kind. It is really a nice little downtown, and it makes for a good summer afternoon walking through it. If you like old stuff, the antiques, this is a town that must be visited.

On the corner of Charles St. and Main St. there is a sign for the group of 7 shoppes [sic]. The group of seven is seven small stores all selling old stuff; two of which appear to be in business. One is "Around the Block" which sold used clothes as well as a small selection of antiques and LP records. My wife was eyeballing a dress and went in to the change room. A minute later she shouts out:

"Singles. The wall is covered in singles."

#3 - Cambridge: Home base...

Three good sized stacks of 45's, maybe a hundred, hundred and fifty in total. And sitting on top? Canada, the Centennial song by Bobby Gimby and the Young Canada Singers; last month's near miss. Then I was willing to pay $5.00 for it. This month it is $3.00 and I'm thinking I go to two stores and find this song in both. Maybe $3.00 is a bit pricey. However, it comes in a good cardboard sleeve and should be considered a bit of a collectible. At least it would be a collectible if the stall owner hadn't put a sticker on it that will never come off without ripping the sleeve, knocking about $2.75 of the real value of the thing. Or am I just feeling cheap today? Either way I ignore the penny-pinching voice running in my head, and pick through the rest of the singles.

#4 - Cookstown :... The Antique mall is in an old barn, about ½ a mile north of highway 89. It sits on the left just as you leave the spartan downtown and is hard to miss; I miss it. Just as I am passing the driveway, and deciding the hell with it get me to the cottage, I spot the roadside sign. Fortunately, Cookstown is not called Reallybusytown for a reason and I am able to make a quick U-turn without leaving too much destruction in my wake. Thinking how pale the family in the van behind me appear, I turn into the driveway of the Cookstown Antique Mall. The drive is maybe two hundred meters long and 5 cars seems determined to park in the 3 small spots out front. I go around back where there is tons of parking and two pick-up trucks pulling campers.

As my journey in search of 45's develops, I have learnt a couple of things: Use the Antique Showcase to look for places that sell "collectibles" and if when you walk in a store and the youngest person in the store, next to yourself, is in the neighborhood of 100, it's a good antique store. This is going to be a great antique store...

#5 - Fergus: ... You can get both new goods and used junk, as well as fresh fruit, ripe cheese and baked goods. There's a small stall that sells new baby stuff: clothes, blankets and the like. The Missus grabs a diaper bag while I buy some strawberry tarts and lemon squares. The lady at the tart stall tells me how wonderful my kids are and entertains me with stories of her own five grown children. I nibble away on a tart thinking, "five kids and she still doesn't have a clue how to bake." You can taste the dough over the berries and later I discover to my dismay that the lemon squares are also doughy...

There are four piles of records here, 50 maybe 75 records per pile; it's hard to tell as small piles hold a deceptively large number of singles. I quickly find a Paul Anka section and toss the idea of tossing this idea. After (Your) Havin' my Baby I am not sure I ever want to hear Paul Anka again. But a gig is a gig and he is Canadian. None the less I decide on one I have never heard before, As Long As We Keep Believing, thinking maybe it won't be so bad. Next up is Blood Sweat and Tears, again a song I never heard of: You'’re The One. The choice here is fairly good, but I'm in a gambling mood so I decide to risk it all on these two songs I don't know. Of course the price is three for a buck, and my last one is an old favorite from my very early youth, Edward Bear's Last Song. I'm in and out in about three minutes with a dollars worth of Canadiana. Nope, nothing disappointing but the baked goods...

That's it for now, although the back catalogue has 6 - 9 waiting fro me to post. For this week, it's a so I wouldn't be surprised if 10 and 11 get pieced together not long after.

Have a good week everybody, see you next week.

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