Monday, June 19, 2006

one day your life would start

Jonathan Lethem makes an appearance in Said the Gramophone's Said the Guests series.

It was Southern California in those days. We all worked in a used record store and we all were a certain age, a clerk’s age, the long middle of our twenties, already wrecked. Some of us were in their thirties already! All the clerks played vinyl on a turntable behind the counter in turns, getting royally sick of one another’s music, a certain bluegrass album a dozen times and you’d start trying to time your lunch break to that track about the horse. Somebody else played African music and you might be coming around slowly. The Go-Betweens, every album was on a different label, it was like putting together a puzzle. All the best bands were from New Zealand, mostly, except if they came from Australia. The guy with the suit and the clipboard from ASCAP came around and said we’d have to pay royalties on the songs we played behind the counter since they were being broadcast in a public place and we said they were only for our own pleasure, our customers didn’t even like to hear music, everyone else tittering behind their hands while someone offered this explanation. We’d all been in a band or were about to have been in one or else just owned a leather jacket.

Lethem's been busy. He also has an open letter to Frank Gehry in Slate, arguing that Gehry's partnership with Brett Ratner and their development plan is a "nightmare for Brooklyn, one that, if built, would cause irreparable damage to the quality of our lives and, I'd think, to your legacy."