What CD Stores are For

A few days ago I, along with several million other people, read Buzzfeed’s 30 Signs You’re Almost 30.

Number 30 is “You have been to a party where at least two of your friends brought their babies”. I had such a party last night at my home.

Number 16 is “There’s an increasing number of musical artists you haven’t even heard of”. I already know this: In essence, I gave up on following new music. In the nineties I had MTV, or more precisely, MTV Europe. Then for a short time I had Pitchfork, but for various reasons I stopped following it, too. I don’t get to listen to radio much, and I never got the hang of that “podcast” thing.

I don’t know almost any new Israeli music either. Almost all the Israeli music I listen to is by artists that started publishing music before 2000. I cannot read articles about new artists on news sites, because the “journalists” who “write” them don’t bother to edit the press releases they get from the PR people.

This morning I was in a CD store to buy the new Girafot album. The store was mostly empty, as I expected. The clerks didn’t even bother to offer me help. A lady asked whether they have “CDs of eighties songs”. The industry is dying.

I found the Girafot album quickly. It had a big sticker saying “buy two albums of Israeli music, get the third one for free”. I started looking at other new Israeli albums and quickly realized that I haven’t heard about any of them.

And then this song started playing in the background:

“Oh, at least I know this one”, I thought. “It’s that wonderful video that I once saw at 2 AM on MTV about 1994, before Romeo + Juliet made it very famous, and immediately loved its video and its chorus.” And I had a plan.

Not much people in the store.

Bored spouse.

Bored clerks.

Bored me, bored and frustrated by inability to follow new music, but still very much in love with the music I loved fifteen years ago.

Towards the end of the first verse I carefully placed the Girafot CD that I held in my hands on the shelf, put down my bag, and casually asked my significant other to hold my sunglasses.

And when the chorus began I started jumping around the aisles. This is the best pop chorus ever; why waste it by just standing there? Not very exciting.

I apologize for not having that filmed. I had less than a minute to prepare, and I wanted it to be a surprise anyway. So use your imagination. Or just start listening to the song, and do the same thing wherever you are.

Best of all, do the same thing in your favorite CD store. If you don’t have a favorite CD store, I am sorry. Do it in your favorite coffee shop, or gym, or something.

Advertisement

You never wash up after yourself

Hello, World.

World, you owe me. Not too much—about fifty bucks. But you still owe me.

You see, World, i’ve been listening to Radiohead since the second “You’re so fucking special” was played on Israeli Educational TV for the first time. When “Pablo Honey”, “The Bends” and “OK Computer” were released, i was a penniless teenager. Few of my friends listened to such music and those who did like it, were penniless teenagers, too, and didn’t have the CD’s. And, believe it or not, there were no MP3’s to download then. I only knew the songs from the videos on MTV, but did’t hear “Black Star”, “Planet Telex”, “You” or “Exit Music”.

Long story short, by 2000 i finally bought all those CD’s. I even became so rich, that i bought “Kid A” the day it was released.

What’s the problem then? The rest. With every album that they released, Radiohead released a separate companion EP. And these companion EP’s were good, too. And they were almost as expensive as the albums. For some time i didn’t buy them, because i hardly had the money to buy the albums. Later i was sure that EMI ere about to re-release them in some way. Then i stopped seeing them in record stores. Hey, i stopped seeing record stores—they began to get closed one after the other.

And then i saw those EP’s somewhere, and i had some spare money and i gave up and bought them—”My Iron Lung EP”, “How am I Driving EP”, “Com Lag EP”. Excellent music—”The Trickster”, “Permanent Daylight”, “Pearly”, “Palo Alto”.

Mere weeks later, bang: Radiohead’s First Three Albums Reissued and Expanded.

Well, yes, those tracklists have the complete EP’s and then some: “Molasses”, “Talk Show Host”, “Pop is Dead” and “Killer Cars” are all great and hard-to-find songs. And i am going to buy that crap, because i am the sucker that keeps the CD industry alive. But damn it, i don’t know what is it in me that makes record companies re-release albums days after i, of all people, buy myself a copy. It happened to me with Bob Dylan, Pavement, R. E. M. and Arik Einstein, but somehow with Radiohead it’s especially painful.

So there. I guess that i had to buy those EP’s to have them re-released so you, World, would be able to pay less than i paid and get more than i got.

Fuck justice. Fuck EMI. Fuck Radiohead. Fuck money.

P.S. At least i didn’t buy “Seven Television Commercials”. Go-go, YouTube.

Finger itches in the hair

When we are victorious on a world scale I think we shall use gold for the purpose of building public lavatories in the streets of some of the largest cities of the world.

“The Importance of Gold Now and After the Complete Victory of Socialism”, V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 33, p. 113

Wish

An open letter to Amazon.com:

Hi,

I’ve been shopping with Amazon.com since about 2002 and now i suddenly see that my order history and wish list are completely gone. My order history is empty and my wish list, which used to have about 20 pages of CD’s and books that i planned to buy now only has 3 CD’s that i added to it today. (Dengue Fever, a superb band i discovered today.)

Can you please restore it? I guess that i can live without the history of spending my hard-earned money, but that wish list was a work of art on which i worked for years and i am shocked to see it disappearing into the limbo without any warning.

Thanks.

Sea

Here’s an example of how i outsmart myself: I usually write down the secret PIN code for my credit/ATM card as one of the numbers in my mobile phone. If someone steals the card and the phone, i want to make it hard for him to find this number. So i write it down under some unrelated name.

My current card is of the “IsraCard Corporate Gold” brand, so i wrote it down in the phone book as ים, which means “sea”, because the first thing that came to mind as an association to “Corporate” was Mercury Rev’s line (written by Jimy Chambers) “See t’ corporal sea”. (I thought that he was singing “corporate”).

If i would have to recall it at an ATM machine, i wouldn’t have a chance. Luckily, i went over the numbers today to kill some time and moved it a more easily memorable name.

It happens to me all the time.

Referent, part 3

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that the website of Bank Mizrahi is not so badly nonstandard. I finally received the password for it and succeeded to access it using Firefox and found the information i needed.

It is still not a very good website, but for other reasons.

P.S. I’m rich. But probably not for long.

Referent, part 2

— “Shalom and welcome to Bank Mizrahi Main Tel Aviv Business Center. If you know the extension number, please press it now. For Business Banking press 1. For Foreign Trade press 2. For Financial Services press 3. For Private Banking press 4. For General Services press 5.”

Let’s try Financial Services. 3.

— “For Fleta press 6. For Rita press 7. For Moshe press 8.”

According to Google, Fleta is a brand of classical guitars; It is also the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation, a US government agency whose website looks just like FSF‘s, because both are built using Plone, but FLETA don’t give Plone any credit. You bastards! According to Wikipedia, Fleta is also a treatise on English common law written in 1290. But that could be a lie. Anyway, i’ve never heard of anyone Israeli whose name is Fleta. There is Mufleta, which is a traditional pastry served after Passover when Chametz is allowed to be eaten, but i don’t think that it’s related. So i decided to keep out of Fleta. Between Rita and Moshe i went all sexist and chose Moshe. 8.

— “Hello.”

— “Hello … I’m not sure that i got to the correct place, but i have a savings account at Analyst and i need to check the balance through Mizrahi …”

— “Wait.”

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Moshe was obviously a bad choice, and not so much my bad choice, as Bank Mizrahi’s, because it really made me feel like moving that savings account to a different service. Finally, a women answered:

— “Hello.”

— “Hello, i have a savings account at Analyst and i need to check the balance through Mizrahi …”

— “A second!”

— “Hello?..”

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Then she came on again:

— “A moment!”

— “Hello?..”

After a couple of minutes more another woman answered and served me very well. But it took me a few good minutes to reach her, during which i decided to switch to a different bank. I feel a bit like Maddox now.

Maybe i shall be more effective if i write this in Hebrew …

P. S. I’m rich.

Referent

I have a savings account in a company called Analyst (nonstandard). They were supposed to send me the annual report in March, but they didn’t. Someone told me that it’s illegal, but nevermind.

I tried to check my account through the web. Their website is not only nonstandard; It’s ugly, too. In Firefox clicking “customer service” does nothing; In IE it hardly does anything either. When i finally found the FAQ, it said that checking the balance is done through Bank Mizrahi (nonstandard). I recalled that i received a password from them long time ago. I found it and tried it; obviously it didn’t work, so i tried calling them – *5080. The computer asked me to key in my ID number, which i did. Then muzak started. After five minutes (i checked it) of muzak and advertisements of loans to cover debt from other loans (stinking capitalists) the computer said: “Your position in the queue: nine”. After another four minutes a human being said:

— “Hello, Amir.”

The ID thing worked! Neat. But i heard something in his voice … reproach? But why?

— “Hello, how are you?”

— “Good, thank God. How can i help you?”

— “I have a savings account in Analyst, i need to check the balance through Mizrahi and my password doesn’t work.”

— “OK, I can help you. But you didn’t give us permission to give you telephone service, so I can’t help you.”

— “Oh. So what can i do?”

— “You can call the branch that manages Analyst accounts and they will help you. But they are closed, so it’s no use now.” Great! The guy excels at disappointing self-contradictions! I just finished “Through the Looking Glass” and it sounded very similar (except the chess part, which is probably good, ‘cuz i suck at chess).

— “Oh. So what can i do?”

— “Call them tomorrow and ask for the referent that handles Analyst accounts…” That’s how he said it – “referent”. I’m in a frenzy of Hebrew purism lately, so i just had to ask:

— “The who?”

— “The clerk.”

— “Eh… That’s not what you said earlier. What did you say?”

— “Referent”.

Sigh.

I waited for ten minutes for NOTHING. Ten minutes. Ten minutes!