Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Disco

By Robin 'Red Hot' Kaye

I’ve been an avid collector of two things for as long as I can remember—books and music. I’ve kept them with me all my life though seven states, and over thirty-five moves.

When I was younger, I could name every move, in order, and I could have given you the street address too. I’m not sure I’d be able to remember my every move now, but when an old song comes on the radio, or the iPod, I can tell you where I lived when it was popular. It’s the same with books.

I know I lived in Mount Laurel, NJ the year Elton John’s Philadelphia Freedom was all the rage and read Judy Blume’s Forever and Louis Nizer’s Reflections Without Mirrors.

I lived in Reston, VA when a friend of my mother’s let me hang out at her apartment and read her prized collection of Wizard Of Oz books in exchange for walking her dog every day after school. That was the same year the songs Wildfire and Shannon brought tears to my eyes along with the book, Watership Downs.

I read JRR Tolkein’s The Hobbit and Jeffrey Archer’s Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less one of the summers I spent in Westhampton Beach, Long Island while tapping my foot to Billy Joel She’s always A Woman To Me.

I lived in Mountain Lakes NJ when I first heard Elvis Costello sing about Watching The Detectives, and read The Thorn Birds in one sitting. It was also about that time I got in trouble for reading The Carpetbaggers and A Stone For Danny Fisher during my Harold Robbins phase.

Keeping my favorite books and music close to me has always been so important because wherever they were was home.
A year ago, my DH (dear husband or damn husband depending on my mood) moved our storage from one room to another—this happens quite often when you’re restoring a hundred year old Victorian. Every time DH faces this task, everything I’ve loved and saved for years is in jeopardy of going the way of the dumpster. I became a victim of Get-rid-of-this-stuff-because-I-refuse-to-move-it-again syndrome. This time my entire record collection was placed on the chopping block. I refused to consider taking it to the big turntable in the sky and I’m so happy I’m more stubborn than he is.

During one of my weekly shopping jaunt to Costco, I spied something I haven’t seen in years. I swear I heard the angels sing—although it might have been Jim Morrison. There before me was a turntable! Yes, I wasn’t seeing things. It was a real, honest to God turntable that connects to a computer and plays, downloads/records (both 45’s and 33’s) to iTunes!

Last night, I opened my box of albums and found my family history. There was my grandparents’ operas and their Italian comedy album, Pepino the Italian Mouse. A BJ Thomas album that I’m sure was one of my parents’. The first Sesame Street Album that contained my favorite song on the show—Oscar the Grouch’s I Love Trash. I walked down memory lane through my southern rock phase, my hard rock phase, my jazz phase, and sadly, a short and very painful disco phase. I found everything from James Taylor to Tubular Bells, Bradford Marsalis to Gilbert and Sullivan. On my bookshelves and in that box of albums, I have a musical and reading history of my life—the good, the bad, and the disco. No matter where I was, I always had a book to read and good music to listen to. I’m a very lucky person.

What’s on your bookshelf and on your iPod?


Grace Burrowes said...

I don't have an ipod. When I did (for a few weeks before the dog ate it or something) I had Wham's "Make It Big" album on there, and listened to it constantly.

And yet, music has punctuated my time line too. I know who I had a crush on when Christopher Cross was popular, I know what the night wind smelled like when I stood outside the Bellagio and watched the fountains play to "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini..." Funny how the brains saves our life stories with a soundtrack.

Cynthia D'Alba said...

I confess to no iPod too! When I drive, I listen to audiobooks. When I write, I usually have the contemporary country music channel running in the background.

Christie Craig said...

No ipod here either. I'm so behind the times. When I drive I either plot or listen to music.


Robin Kaye said...

Grace - Thanks for stopping by on your release day no less. Anyone who hasn't already pre-ordered your copy of The Virtuoso, run, don't walk to the nearest book store and pick it up! It's awesome, as is The Heir, The Soldier, and Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish. I must confess to having a very big crush on Lord Valentine. Sigh...

Cyndi - Before my iPod I used to listen to audio books, I remember sitting in my car in my friend's driveway for an hour after a seven hour drive so I could listen to the end of The Wild Child by Mary Jo Putney. What an awesome book! Unfortunately, if I continued to listen to books I'd spend a whole lot more time in the car than I already do.

Robin Kaye said...

Christie - Too funny, I'm be lost without my iPod. I listen to a lot of RWA workshops while I drive because if I plot, I forget what I came up with. I have every national conference on my iPod from 2004 on. They're great!

Kima said...

The album (OMG does anyone under the age of 40 even know what an album is???) I listened to the most during my teenage angst years was Chicago 17. Peter Cetera helped me suffer through those "why is everyone out to get me" days in high school.

My ipod shuffle has everything - Bette Midler, Kid Rock, Ozzy, Sugarland, Billy Joel, Pat Benatar, Allison Krauss - I have very eclectic tastes!

Robin Kaye said...

I'm with you, Kimra! I have over 15,000 songs on my iPod. I even have I think I Love You from The Partridge Family LOL I have all you mentioned too--very eclectic. I choose to think of it as a sign of a great mind!

Julee J. Adams said...

Love it! I've been through several MP3 players and the latest one is purple. I'm geeky enough that I have a database of my tunes and which flash drive they are on and I have all my digital files (fiction, music and photos) backed up in a safety deposit box at the credit union.

I have hundreds of CDs behind me in the office and my husband has dozens of our records downstairs. We can't imagine life without music and your turntable to MP3 file is awesome! Our friend has one and it's great.

While we love the feel of the album (the ritual cleaning, the liner notes, etc.), you can buy frames at the craft store for your favorites and enjoy listening to the digital files. The new cars have iPod/MP3 docks instead of CD players. How cool is that?

Robin Kaye said...

Julee - I'm on my third iPod. I outgrow them and can't seem to leave the house without knowing I have all my music on me. It's a sickness, I know. I have all my books on a database just because I'm forever buying books I already have. Sigh... My Prius is a few years old. It has a jack but no docking station, which sucks. Maybe my next car...