Saturday, October 31, 2009

To Geem or Not To Geem

Staying on topic here, and the subject of collectors. I think there must be a collectors' gene, and I feel fortunate that I was spared (although I'd consider trading it for the one that predisposed me to eczema and migraines). Back in those old record company days, some of us at Rykodisc made up a word for compulsive collectors- "geemers," and a corresponding verb, "to geem." Back then one of our public slogans was "large enough to matter, small enough to care." Internally this was twisted to "large enough to spiff, small enough to geem."

Of course, not only did geemers make up a sizable number of our staff, they were also quite a critical consumer base for us. I have to acknowledge that I'm sure that a portion of my IRA can be attributed to geemers, and their willingness to shell out big bucks for things like the Yoko Ono limited edition boxed set in an Anvil case with a glass key and signed certificate from Ms. Ono herself. That's right, a six-disc boxed set collection of Yoko Ono's complete solo work from 1968 to 1985 housed in a white Anvil case. As though the $100+ retail boxed set by itself was not enough. Apparently it wasn't, because we sold all 500 of the special editions quite rapidly, as I recall.

So this fascination with 78's, Victrolas, rare vinyl LPs and singles? It's the same as stamp collecting to me. Sure, I'm often impressed by demonstrations of archaic technology in its effectiveness for reproducing sound. But if there's a rare Charlie Patton recording out there that's worth hearing, I'm perfectly happy to wait until it's available to download from iTunes for 99 cents. If it's the music he cared about, think about how much $8,000 could have bought that dude who spent it on the rare Charlie Patton 78. This isn't really a music discussion, is it?

* * * *

We are now in the throws of an unprecedented 20 events in 20 days at The Cedar. We've already had one sold-out show, our co-present of múm at Walker Art Center last Thursday. And I'm really looking forward to tonight's sold-out double-bill of Chris Smither and Loudon Wainwright III. We've already got another sell-out coming, another double-bill with The Mountain Goats and Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett) on February 7. And just a few tickets remain for the much-anticipated Dirty Projectors show on 11/11.

But here's one I don't want to slip through the cracks for y'all... a singer/songwriter I saw this past summer at the Winnipeg Folk Festival that blew me away with his lyrics and delivery, Joe Pug.

So I leave you with this... no collectable, just a simple video from YouTube that I suspect could bring you as much if not more happiness than an $8,000 Charlie Patton 78: