Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Whatever Happened To Yellow Pages? Whatever Happened to Burning Books?

In a fascinating article ("Record Stores: Out of Sight, Not Obsolete") in today's New York Times about NYC record stores that went bust, but whose owners are still somewhat in business, selling their deep stock out of their apartments to collectors who have taken the time to track them down--comes some news about Jammyland, the much beloved Manhattan reggae shop that closed last year:
Ira Heaps ran the tiny East Village reggae shop Jammyland from 1992 until last year, and now sells his leftovers in his even tinier apartment nearby. Boxes of albums and singles fill up the space beneath a loft bed, and the walls are lined with yet more boxes. Mr. Heaps said old customers sought him out after the store closed.

“It started with D.J. friends of mine,” he said. “ ‘Come on, what happened to your stuff?’ I said mainly it’s in my apartment. They said, ‘Can we come over?’ I said sure.” Mr. Heaps, 45, still sounds bitter about the demise of his store. “Jammyland ruined me,” he said. “I gave it 16 years of my life. It ruined two marriages. I have nothing to show for it.”

Actually, what he has to show for it is encyclopedic knowledge — he rhapsodized for 15 minutes about “Bam Bam,” a 1982 hit by Sister Nancy, and would not let a reporter leave without buying a dozen carefully chosen singles — and a central position in a network of collectors who, he said, found him even during a period when he had disconnected his phone.

And Mr. Heaps said he simply liked hanging out with fellow music lovers, a sentiment echoed by many former store owners.
The sad thing is that I've been to all of the shuttered record stores mentioned in this piece--and I miss them all.

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