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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Monday, April 5, 2010


In addition to "summer reading" paperbacks and the collection of kids' books awaiting grandchildren, our upstairs shelves in Maine hold an ancient collection of records. It must be stubbornness that makes us drag them through our multiple moves, not to mention keep them, these relics of teenage longings and college partying. Surely no one will ever play on turntables, or pay for on eBay, our scratched LPs of Tom Rush and The Lovin' Spoonful and Led Zeppelin. We still play that music of the 60s and 70s, but on CD or radio, and our daughters listen to some of it on their iPods and laptops, acknowledging that certain bands have a certain immortality to them. In spirit the music remains unbreakable, unlike the vinyl platters of our youth.

But aren't records made to be broken? This is in the natural course of things where sports are concerned, somewhat less naturally in the antics stimulated by the Guinness Company (both beer and book), and most unnaturally in the recent weather, in which rainfall in the month of March and temperatures for several days now in early April have broken historic highs for many places in New England. (I mean, 73 in Caribou??!!) Record-breaking seems to be a symbol for our loud and over-heating world.

I personally broke some kind of character record, or at least did something on a Saturday night that age and temperament would seem to preclude utterly, i.e., attend an indie-rock performance in Harvard Square. Needless to say, I didn't get it, neither the experimentation nor the volume, but was happy to see our friends' son so ecstatic in his music-making, breaking records in his own way. The band was college students, and that's the reason, I suppose, we don't recyle our LPs for the trash compactors. Re-living a bit of tumult and obliteration through Elephantom's efforts shows us youth again, and a shelf of vinyl in a quiet house in Maine keeps our inner LPs playing long.

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