wouldn't it be nice to actually have a local paper?
today's "steppin' out" insert (i guess lazy editors like to use words that actually aren't words in their section titles) features a story on "record store day", and the "enduring appeal of vinyl". so far so good. it's a supposed celebration of local record stores, and it actually does contain mention of a local record store, but only to cite it's "wonderfully iconoclastic owner" who "refuses to participate in any sort of group promotion". everything else, and i mean EVERYTHING else in this piece is about a ny-based website and its member merchants, none of whom mentioned are any closer to lowell than cambridge and southern new hampshire. (the web site will actually tell you about a shop in methuen, though not your "local" journalist). huh???
i'll tell you the story--it's rrrecords on central street. rrrecords isn't just the most amazing vinyl collection for sale anywhere in this part of the, and maybe actually the entire, world. it's an operation that extends to its own record label and is a cited progenitor of the "noise music" genre, which took off from lou reed's 1975 "metal machine music" album, credited by lester bangs as the "greatest album ever made in the history of the human eardrum", though you can forgive lester his hyperbole, because he actually believed as a professional in standing up for artists in whom he believed, exactly like you never anymore see in the rag that has become the lowell sun. all we get in our "local" paper is a discussion about where to go buy records in cambridge.
rrrecords blew me away from my very first visit looking for a piece of vinyl that had become apocryphal in my life's quest for sublimity. no, it wasn't a classic, or even known to seemingly anyone on the planet anymore, but it was a memory from my youth, and a goal worthy of the argonauts in its obscurity and likely impossibility. ron lessard handed it to me within seconds of my entering his shop, and asking about it, without a moment's hesitation for which bin in which it might be found. it was exactly the kind of independent record store experience of which legends are born, and it happened RIGHT HERE in downtown lowell, RIGHT HERE on central street, RIGHT HERE in rrrecords.
where's the story about that? where's the investigative piece on ron's history in the record business, and his amazing internet collection (found at rrrecords.com) of otherwise impossible to find gems? where's the understanding of the presence of something HERE, in lowell of all places, that makes the "record store day" celebration the footnote, not the headline???
i wish i had a local paper. i dearly do.