Sunday, July 24, 2005

rex in antiquity

It was too hot for yard work or helping the brother-in-law paint on Saturday. It was too hot for decent people to function, and I had to drag the dog into the yard to relieve himself. He is a Brittany and his folk were not made for this shit, and he lets me know it with the same eyes he gave me when we put him in that sweater long ago. The wife was out shopping with her mother and I, for once in a great long while, had a Saturday to waste on anything I wanted—provided it was an indoor activity, as I am prone to adhere to the advices of local meteorologists.

I spent most of the day hitting guitar stores and antique malls around Rutherford County. The guitar stores were all crawling with teenagers. Many were pierced and in clothes five sizes too big, and they all smelled strangely like goats. They were copying all the unnecessary lead parts from their favorite corporate “punk” and castrated “metal” bands on small pointy guitars. I wanted to take a nice large hollow body jazz guitar and play tee ball with their little dreadlocked heads until I remembered that I was once one of them, I suppose—only without any permanent alterations to my body and much better taste in guitars. Even the quite large and generally amiable owner of a certain local chain seemed to have grown tired of them. He walked into the acoustic room and scolded one for playing on a cheap little banjo. I thought that I would bestow kudos on such an action, but I didn’t. It seemed a bit out of character and made me feel even older, as I was not scolded for toying around with a mandolin. Maybe it was the heat.

The antique malls attract a different crowd. I am generally the only straight man under sixty in my more frequent visits to theses places. The wife has never had to drag me into any of them. Perusing the antique trade is a great way to spend a free weekend in those aimless weeks between football seasons, and I am not embarrassed to admit it. I don’t foresee a use for any of these, but it is good to know that there is a place where I can go and purchase a genuine German Nazi flag from World War II, anything ever written by Rudyard Kipling, Bull Durham tobacco ads of the extremely politically incorrect nature, a life size statue of Yoda, and a shitload of Victorian furniture.

I mainly go to find old musical instruments, musty old books, vintage advertisements, postcards, and photographs. But there is something troubling about hanging up a hundred year old photograph of total strangers as art, as it leaves me with the fear that someone in the year 2100 will have my acned and mullet adorned middle school picture on their wall. People who are not even born yet might someday mock my awkward phase and look upon it with the same eye we cast upon those poor old cross-eyed cowboys in vintage Daguerreotypes. The horror.

The day’s only purchase was a set of Kitching’s Melody Bells built by B. F. Kitching and Company in Brookfield, Illinois around 1960. It is essentially a beginner xylophone. The company has long since passed, but they appear to have been in the business of making vibraphones, marimbas, xylophones, and an assortment of beginner instruments like the one I purchased yesterday, complete with its original 2 page manual/songbook. Here is a pic.

kitching's melody bells (1960)

Anyone can play the damn thing. The notes are clearly engraved into the pieces, and the accompanying booklet will give one the knowledge and confidence to perform such classics as “Merrily We Roll Along”, “Lightly Row”, and the always crowd pleasing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. This last number is no doubt the single in the bunch, and one must be careful as to where to they place it in the set list. If you make it last you might lose them, and if you play it first the part of the crowd that was just there for the radio hit will begin to filter out.
I bought it to accentuate some of my meager recordings done here in the Rexroom. I have yet to record it, but I think it will go well with the other instruments and assorted kitchen items used as percussion devices. I assume it will work out, though the pets might disagree. The cat has already taken a disliking to it and will immediately leave the Rexroom when I launch into an impromptu performance. To the dog this is not an option. It is his nature to follow me like a shadow from room to room and endure any noises I might make. During these performances Carl Weathers will lay there beside me trying to ignore the high pitch tones and giving me that same look as if to say that this, too, is shit that he was not made for.


Blogger melusina said...

I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the smell of goats. I guess I should go sniff a teenager and find out.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

Greek teenagers may have a different aroma about them, Mel, but I am sure it will not be unlike that of the American variety, so long as you sniff a specimen of the modern "punk" teen.

Also, I should point out that the odor found me, and that sniffing teenagers was not on the daily agenda.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous tha b said...

that's right... as I recall, sundays are the day you reserve for sniffing teenagers...and/or goats...

nice find on the 'instrument' I can't wait to hear the solos on the Gorilla Monsoon stuff now... far out man... way far out...

tha b.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

Seriously, y'all, my parole officer doesn't need to read all this talk about me sniffing teenagers.

7:19 AM  
Blogger lotus said...

The last time I sniffed a teenager, it sniffed my butt & we ended up doing one of those merry-go-round butt sniffing sessions dogs are so fond 69ing for canines I guess. Then the manager of Kroger told us we had to leave.

8:19 AM  
Blogger melusina said...

Greek teenagers probably smell like gyros, which technically could be made with goat meat, so you never know.

My general habit in a crowd anywhere is to try to limit the things I smell. That way I don't accidentally dry heave thanks to something unpleasant, like goaty teenagers.

10:01 AM  
Blogger thomas said...

I love your blog. How long has it been on-line? Reason I ask is I am doing a ton of work in the area of dean guitar and will probably end up starting a blog of my own. Funny how the internet brought me here when I was doing searches on dean guitar. Oh well, I am glad it did. Keep up the great blogging and I am sure I will visit your blog again!!

p.s added you to my favorites take a moment to stop by for I update it frequently

5:13 PM  
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9:38 PM  

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