1983, The beach.

2021, Windsor.

You get all sorts, working in an op shop.

And you get all sorts of donations.

But what do you do when at least 20 good music DVDs land in your lap?

Well, you put them out for the punters to buy, of course.

How much do you charge? $2. Why? Because all DVDs are $2.

Jeff Buckley Live, Leonard Cohen Live, and not just in London, Simon and Garfunkel Live in Central Park. I reluctantly put them on the shelf. Perhaps the Nick Cave DVD comes home for a trial run. But it turns out to be less than perfect.

We still stock CDs, also $2, and occasionally vinyl comes into the shop.

I get my boss to price them, not wanting to assert my own prejudices.

But then a cache of cassettes arrives. A real mixed bag.

How much to charge? I flick through the offerings and put $5 on them. $5 each, that is. Why? Because they are rare.

And sought after.

How much is a cassette worth?

Better ask Jonathan Richman that. He came into my life sometime in the early 1980s, on a cassette. And just today I wound back that tape of Jonathan Sings, circa 1983, inside the rolling wheels, hopeful that it might play on the cassette player.

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Jonathan Sings.

Not the cassette player in my house, because I know my old Sony is hungry for old tape and likes to chew it. No, I will wait till I’m somewhere with a more reliable machine. And even then, I will offer it an entrée of something less collectable. Perhaps a mix tape of 1990s obsessions.

That Summer Feeling kicks off the album.

When there’s things to do not because you gotta
When you run for love not because you oughta
When you trust your friends with no reason, nada
The joy I’ve named shall not be tamed

And it became a hallmark of my summers spent down the coast, singing in the creek in the endless uni holidays.

After cassettes lost favour I bought Jonathan on CD. And Jonathan on vinyl. In Spanish, Italian, French and English.

I tracked down I’m So Confused in a Boston secondhand record shop, loving the synchronicity, knowing that he was born just a few miles away in Nattick, Massachusetts.

On a trip to Virgin Records in London I paid £7 for The Best of Jonathan Richman: I Must Be King sometime in the 1990s. And then there’s the full-price buys in my hometown, back when I had what you’d describe as a “a well-paying job”. A world away from an op shop.

I haunted Collectors Corner on Swanston Street when I wasn’t glued to the headphones at St Kilda’s Raoul Records.

And if you wait until your older
A sad resentment will smolder one day
And then that summer feeling is gonna haunt you
And that summer feeling’s gonna taunt you
And then that summer feeling is gonna hurt you one day in your life

Continental poster at Greville Records, Greville St, Prahran, May 2021.

Jonathan, Jonathan, his name echoes around the empty room. How long is it since his gig at Prahran’s much missed Continental?

How long since that gig at Melbourne Uni?

All I know is that a few years ago I was tempted to jump on a plane (before the word pandemic was commonplace) and fly to Seattle for Bumbershoot, their annual Labor Day weekend festival of music, culture and the arts. Why? Because Jonathan Richman was playing.

Happy 70th birthday, Jonathan.

Stereo Story #591


See also the Mark Schwerdt story about Roadrunner by The Modern Lovers. It’s a beauty! (The story. And the song.)

Louise Maskell has been surrounded by other people's words for some 30 years. Occasionally she strings together a few of her own. Otherwise it's all about the music and tall skinny dogs. She misses The Continental.