I was 15 when I bought my first CD. I was attending school in Halifax and on one of our Thursday night mall excursions I bought the "Crossroads" Soundtrack - a blues album by Ry Cooder.
I was 16 when I bought my first CD Player. By this time I had joined Columbia House for the first time and purchased about 20 CDs. I bought a 5 CD carousel CD player component with the high hopes of buying the amp and speakers and VCR in coming years and having my own entertainment system. I listened to my fledgeling collection with headphones in the dormroom lounge on that big machine as I wasn't permitted to listen to music in my restricted dorm room.
I was caught once. Having missed supper because of guitar lessons one Wednesday evening, I decided to boil some water on the iron in the common bathrom to make some noodles. Since it was taking so long, I thought I should use the time wisely and listent to music while waiting for bubbles to appear. I fetched my friends discman and with earbuds in place continued to warm the water. Suddenly, at about 50 degrees, Mike Philips, our dorm dad, burst into the bathroom looking for one of the guys. He was shocked - and very dismayed - that I was using the iron in such a dangeresque fashion that he didn't consciously notice that I was listening to music illegally. After yielding the pot of warm water and unplugging the iron. I slipped into Mark and Jeff's room, my heart racing. I shared my harrowing tale with the guys - all of them relieved that I hadn't blown the cover of underground music listening, especially the owner of the discman. Suddenly, again, Mike came into Mark and Jeff's room with a private question for me. Once he cooled down about the iron, the image of the earbuds in my ears flashed in his mind and he wanted to confirm that it was true. I apologized over some warmed up left-overs. The discman was confiscated.
I joined Columbia House 6 more times under variations of my own name or household members. And BMG Music Club 4 times. And CDHQ 2 times. Their catalogs ceased to be very appealing, so I resorted to music store bargain bins. Once money wasn't a real issue (after university), I was able to buy an album when I felt like it, irregardless of the price - unless it was full price of course. As of late, I have purchased a lot of my music online from Amazon or Chapters. The Giant Flea Market on 111th Ave is another of my music haunts.
Music defines eras.
Best of Leonard Cohen - Leonard Cohen: first broken heart
Achtung Baby - U2: grade 11, awakening my own tastes in music
Automatic for the People - R.E.M.: doing math homework my senior year of highschool
Picture Perfect Morning - Edie Brickell: summer touring BC with Papa and Salomé
You Must Ask the Heart - Jonathan Richman: sitting in my little cabin on Carlos, MH
Jesus Freak - DC Talk: first summer working at Foothills Camp
Amplified Heart - Everything but the Girl: falling in love with Amber
Clandestino: Esperando La Ultima Ola... - Manu Chao: bop bop bopping at CUC and Edmonton
We Were Born in a Flame - Sam Roberts: driving in Montreal
Birds of My Neighborhood - Innocence Mission: reflecting in Spruce Grove
A favorite passtime on weekends or lazy cold winter evenings was ordering the CDs into different categorical sets in the CD shelving: by artist, by year, by sleeve color, by distributor, by genre, by country of origin, by date of acquisition... hours.
One early morning when I was praying in the Marshall Islands, away from all my possessions (except one mix tape I made for a friend before leaving and never sent), I asked God if there was anything I held closer to my heart than Him. My CD collection came immediately to mind. After stuggling with sadness and confusion, I gave my collection to God. He has blessed it greatly since that time.
I have digitized all of my albums and so, before leaving Canada with 773 hours of mp3's and AAC files backed up on DVD-R and hard drive, I am ready to part with these dear historical documents. These labours of love. These heart pacers. These questions and answers. My CDs, all of them, are up for sale. If sales go well, Amber and I will have another $3000 for our move to Guatemala in September of this year.
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