Wednesday, December 9, 2009

[The Record Crate] Two Virgins

(Note: The following Record Crate post for is a compliment to this previous post on my personal blog. Weirdly enough, the image I found is of the exact drawing I could've bought from the exact Yoko Ono gallery show I went to in 1995, though now I am questioning whether those drawings really went for as low as I claim to remember.)

Once alerted that today was the 29th anniversary of John Lennon's death in 1980, I was immediately stymied trying to remember where I was when I heard the news. Hearing about Elvis' death on the radio at eight is very vivid to me. I was sitting on the top of my swing set with Tracey from down the street, who was furious because they cut into the Bay City Rollers song she'd spent 30 minutes scanning the little transistor dial to find, only to have the DJ losing his composure before a minute of silence for (to us) "who-cares" old Elvis. But I can't picture the scene of John Lennon's death.

I was 11 in 1980, we were living in an apartment in this great old building that had once been a hotel (giant oaken lobby with a desk and the little mailslots and hooks on which they keys were once hung, two weird little alcoves on either side of the door where we would've played all day on that undoubtedly cold Illinois day in December) the next town over after my parents split and I'd had a glorious summer of bike riding and nobody caring where I was most of the time, too busy with my own wheels going round and round to remember the actual announcement.

I do, however, vividly remember almost buying a vinyl copy of Two Virgins, the Lennon/Ono album where they are naked on the cover, for $3.99 at Paradise Records. I'm sure it was a reissue, but it still had the brown paper sleeve thankfully protecting us all from the genitals of the most famous people in the world. I believe I bought a Talking Heads record instead, one I surely would've listened to more, but I wouldn't be so stoked to still have it and put it in a frame from Urban Outfitters up on my wall.

On my one trip to NYC many years ago, I did manage to hit a tiny Yoko Ono show of drawings, some priced cheaply enough that I could've put one on a credit card and I would have it to put next to my $3.99 copy of Two Virgins. Now I am a Yoko defender; she did not break up your precious Beatles. If she had any sway over the petty gaggle of pampered egotists the Beatles had become, she freed them from each other so that they could leave this beautiful thing they had done with popular music alone and move on.

My little consumerist regret is exactly what these two people were fighting against 29 years ago. They wanted us to put that energy into making the world a better place, so instead of cataloging my artifacts and thinking about purchases never made, and inviting half-remembered tragedies into my heart, I'm going to take this opportunity to free myself from such tethers and maybe, corny as this may sound, love everything a little more.

Click here for the original with local events calendar

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