Thursday, August 13, 2009

NSP01 (2001)

FROM THE ARCHIVES, AUG 13 - This originally posted on, 2/12/01.

The New Success Program '01 launched last week. This program consisted of my auctioning off a good chunk of the LP collection I transported 2,800 miles from storage in upstate New York. Southwest Airlines allows passengers three pieces of stowed luggage at 70 pounds each. I managed three poorly taped boxes at 68 pounds each (some of the B's had to be left behind). Mothballed for over a year, these records seemed even less vital to my life after I'd lugged them across the airport concourse. The lady at the counter pursed her lips and made me sign a damage waiver. Once in the air, back and shoulders aching, I hatefully pictured the boxes spilling open in the hold, unsleeved vinyl sloshing around in turbulence, rare hardcore albums gracefully raining down on the midwest.

I don't regret the actual selling of these artifacts - almost every obscure punk & new wave record ever pressed is available on CD these days. I save my remorse for the wretched nickel & dimeyness of online record auctioning. A lot of pandering to the lowest common denominator comes with this territory. Several hours of cataloguing skips, scratches and surface scuffs left me a cheaper, smaller man. The Shift/F7 thesaurus was frequently summoned. I tried noting 1/32 inch seam splits, but my sarcasm didn't seem to translate.

Also, steering clear of eBay's "Shill Bidding" rules is tough. It's ok, kind of, for a friend to bid in one's auction. If that friend is genuinely interested in the items. If they act in collusion with the seller, or bid with the intent of inflating prices, or hold some shade of doubt in their heart, the transaction may be illegal. Not covered in the rules is what I should do if that friend comes over to my house, drinks half a bottle of Captain Morgan's spiced rum, logs on to my computer and starts drunkenly bidding for items, intent unknown. No! I pleaded, already internalizing the pettiness of my oppressors, They can trace the cookies! They'll cancel my auction! How did it get this far?

I made out as well as can be expected. A lot of Italian and Japanese hardcore sold well. I didn't have many German bands this time around, so I'm not sure if this was some post-Axis trend. My remaining albums have been winnowed to resemble the kind of record collection one might see in a freshman's college dorm - The Police, Jimi Henrix, The Beatles. A slight transfer of wealth from the gods of colored vinyl to the gods of unpaid bills is pending.