The Lakeside Jukebox
is prominently featured in the front-of-the-book chat with Van Morrison in the March 9 edition of The New Yorker.
Which reminds me of the Rebellious Jukebox, a short-lived record store that Nils Bernstein ran on the downslope of Capitol Hill in Seattle, where I bought a pristine copy of Herman’s Hermits Greatest Hits. Nils shuttered the store at some point when his activities managing the Nirvana fan club expanded, or when he took over as publicist for Sub Pop. And then he moved off to the big city, and is, so far as I know, head publicity dude at Matador, where he is still periodically kind to me, in the right measure.
But what it really reminded me of, reading about Van Morrison putting dollars into Eric Ambel’s jukebox to play the best of what the 1950s had to offer, the music which drove Van Morrison to sing, was an old, lurking ambition.
As noted previously, I have a lot of seven-inch singles. 5,000 by rough estimate. Now, I’ve held onto them because some day I mean to put together a book about all the seven-inch artwork which flowered after the major labels quit making singles, but Spencer Drate keeps cluttering the market and I’ve not even found time to go in and alphabetize the last thousand or so, much less sort and scan. A project for a long, quiet winter, and maybe I’ll self-publish it one of these days just to have done. Or not.
The real problem, though, is that reading about Mr. Ambel’s jukebox reminded me that I’ve always wanted one. Charlie Cross had an old Rocket juke in the foyer of The Rocket magazine office, so old it had been converted from 78 to 45. I fear that Erik and I wired it backwards (not surprising, and one of the reasons I don’t do anything involving wiring, despite my DIY protestations), and so it never worked quite right. But it was pretty.
So I was thinking how much fun it would be to have a jukebox back in my office, even knowing that nobody else in the house would want to listen to most of the punk rock I’ve stored up, or even the handful of old Elmore James singles (and would it do to put those Fire 45s in a live jukebox?) and Ernie K-Doe’s original “A Certain Girl.” Ah. And that first Whiskeytown single…
This runs along the same internet startup fantasy that involves a pinball machine and an old Asteroids console, all of which involve monies which are not to be found in the lining of my jeans. And yet…as the economy crashes…I wonder what’s on Craig’s List this morning…