Thanksgiving Is Ruined
May 09, 2007
"Sexology is not my field."
Today I got to stand before an object that can only be described, in the warped, tongue-in-cheek TiR universe, as "near holy."
If the description provided by those who displayed it is to be believed, the object was none other than Lester Bangs' very own, double LP copy of Metal Machine Music.
The cover art was torn off all the way down the right margin of the front sleeve, as if the poor artifact suffered some nasty water damage somewhere along the way.
The record was standing in a vitrine on a shelf about 3 feet from the floor. Thus, it was at the perfect height for spontaneous kneeling, salaaming, protestations (e.g., as here, at minute 6:45).
Underneath it was a reproduction of Bangs' manuscript for his 1976 "The Greatest Album Ever Made."
In one version of an alternate, parallel universe, homologous to this blog, Lester Bangs' copy of MMM would stand at the symbolic center of the universal, state religion, and would be carried throughout the jubilant congregation during their ceremonies, in a vast, atonal hakafah.
[The last object that, I think, gave a similar type and comparable level of delight to behold, in an exhibition a few years back, was Wittgenstein's violin.]
I wonder what the chain of custody was, from Bangs' hands to those who currently possess the record. I wonder who adopted Bangs' record collection, and papers, after 1982. He did not leave behind a wife or kids. Among his relatives, Ben Catching III seems to be the one through whom some copyright issues are handled. Maybe he has things.
Bangs wrote that MMM "sounds better on Romilar than any other record I have ever heard." An explanation of what Romilar is (or was) can be found here.
He also wrote in his review that he listed to the album every day, "like vitamins." I can't quite get to that, but lately do tend to listen to one side of it approx. every couple weeks, often simultaneously or layered with other things playing at the same time. MMM sounds very good, for example, combined with Aretha Franklin records.
[For some related, newly revealed information on the mystical power of Aretha Franklin recordings over certain inanimate objects, consider the testimony of one Allan Speers, here.]Not ten feet away from the album, in the same exhibition
(which included, among other things,acetates;
unsecured on a shelf stood an original paperback copy of Michael Leigh's 1963 book, The Velvet Underground. I picked it up and flipped through it.
The book's first sentence is the title of this post.