20
Nov 10

西雅图唱片店初探(3): Wall of Sound

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Wall of Sound 位于松树街的拐角,向前走是Capitol Hill,向后退是downtown,一边时髦,一边热闹,自己反而很不显眼。店外摆放着涂鸦招牌,悄悄暴露了自己的独立身份。橱窗陈列着很多漂亮唱片,错落有致仿佛艺术品。店面小而干净,打扮得像个美术馆。一个中年店员自顾自低头忙着。墙上挂满装饰画和唱片封面,默默点了Wall of Sound这个题。

店里唱片存量不大,但麻雀虽小五脏俱全。它面向小众,品味不俗。有产自欧洲、闻所未闻的世界音乐,重新发行的古老的采风唱片和布鲁斯,也有晦涩的工业、电子和实验唱片。其实一旦挑起唱片,整个下午也不嫌多。呆了大概一个小时手里已是厚厚一叠:我最爱的过气金曲女歌王Rickie Lee Jones、阿根廷探戈音乐大师 Astor Piazzolla、时髦德国厂牌Kompakt之系列唱片Pop Ambient 2010(全套2002-2010中我唯一缺少的)、同样时髦的 Ulrich Schnauss的双唱片、老色鬼Serge Gainsbourg重新发行的法国情歌、Iron & Wine和Calexico五年前的合作等等,怀抱着三教九流欢天喜地冲去试音台试听。

试音台的设备非常非常专业,唱台是奥地利厂牌Pro-ject的hi-fi入门款,耳机是Grado Prestige 225i。唱头和接收器忘了看。但 Pro-ject 和 Grado!档次啊档次。一下子就高级起来。于是我顺便在试听时也昂个首挺个胸,似乎自己一下子也跟着高级了起来。

付账时店员见我买了Pop Ambient 2010和Ulrich Schnauss的Goodbye,大致聊了几句,说Schnauss前些天在西雅图演出呢。可我竟然不知道,可惜了。作为一个RSS狂人竟然没收到演出信息,有点不应该。提着一袋唱片往外走,看见招牌的反面有和正面不同的涂鸦,很是可爱。

好店一枚,必将再次光顾。

13
Nov 10

Seattle Record Store Crawling

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Capitol Hill:

1. Wall of Sound: 315 East Pine Street
2. Sonic Boom Records: 1525 Melrose Avenue
3. Everyday Music: 1523 10th Avenue
4. Zion’s Gate: 1100 East Pike Street
5. Gruv: 422 Broadway East Street

Belltown/Downtown:

6. Holy Cow Records: Ste 325, 1501 Pike Place
7. Swerve Music: 1535 1st Avenue
8. Singles Going Steady: 2219 2nd Avenue # C
9. Damaged Goods: 2316 2nd Avenue

Fremont/Wallingford:

10. Jive Time Records: 3506 Fremont Avenue N
11. Golden Oldies Records: 201 Northeast 45th Street
12. Neptune Music Company: 4344 Brooklyn Avenue NE

Queen Anne:

13. Silver Platters: 701 5th Avenue North
14. Easy Street Records: 20 Mercer Street

Ballard:

15. Bop Street Records: 5219 Ballard Avenue NW
16. Sonic Boom Records: 2209 NW Market Street

Georgetown:

17. Georgetown Records: 1201 S Vale Street

Music Store Crawling

07
Nov 10

西雅图唱片店初探(2): Jive Time

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傍晚出门,微雨。倒不怎么讨厌湿漉漉的天气,况且我还有把硕大无朋的巨伞。今天去Fremont的Jive Time Records。我去过的几家唱片店基本在Capitol Hill和Ballard区,也有在Queen Anne的。不知道Fremont区什么样,主打什么。公车下来后五岔路口黑漆漆的,有家快打烊的咖啡店。拐上弗雷蒙大道,满地落叶里看见了Jive Time的招牌。

店面不大,推门进去的时候两个店员正在交接班,悉悉嗦嗦地互相抱怨着啥。Jive Time Records是全二手的唱片店,主营黑胶碟,二手 CD则蛰居一角。种类很全,老摇滚,爵士,古典,少量的indie和现代音乐,当然仔细翻翻也会有意外发现。角落里有很多清售的一元盒和三元盒。唱片店的二手黑胶品相不错,封面很干净,基本没有压痕。收银台边摆着两架试听用的唱机和接收器,明晃晃地竟然是Technics SL1200-M3D!选了一张David Bowie的Ziggy Stardust,一张The Doors的精选,还有Phillip Glass、Steve Reich、Joni Mitchell各色人等,在试音台听了一下。那两架高贵的Technics唱机挺可惜的,台面积着灰,疏于打理。而且还配了索尼烂耳机,一副虎落平阳的可怜样。挑的唱片有几张保养得当,另几张稍有噼啪的底噪,但音质都还过得去。

最后跟店员讲网站上有个买gift card送唱片木制整理箱的说法,店员不确定,致电老板。发现原来是圣诞活动,信息忘了撤下来。但还是送了我一个Jive Time自制LP木箱。遂笑眯眯跑出来,步行回车站,街边的灯光和树影在夜雨里呈现出很奇幻的样子。回家把唱片一洗,然后就戴着耳机捧本书,悠哉游哉度过又一个秋夜。

04
Oct 10

西雅图唱片店初探(1): Sonic Boom

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每周末都去西雅图逛逛。西雅图的唱片行很多,滚石杂志评选出全美最酷的二十五家独立唱片行里西雅图就占三家。九月我走马观花地拜访了四五家,简直是老鼠掉进米缸里,收获无数。图为Sonic Boom Records位于Ballard区的店面。它的斜对面是Bop Street Records,传言有数十万张黑胶唱片的仓库,还未亲自验证。

Sonic Boom Records在Capitol Hill区另有分店,那里街道三斜五岔,餐馆书店林立。分店宽敞明亮,藏有大量二手CD和黑胶唱片。街角是Bauhaus 咖啡馆,两次路过,均聚集着众多哥特打扮的小青年。再走走就是Wall of Sound Records,主要经营实验和电子音乐的黑胶碟。我猜想这几个街区是Capitol Hill的心脏。而Capitol Hill据说是西雅图另类青年的聚集区。

就待我慢慢看来吧。

21
Sep 10

Bob Dylan以外的Bumbershoot (9月4日-6日)

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看鲍勃迪伦的演出单独另写。写得出来就贴,写不出来就算。反正围观了一下这位教科书里的人物。

除了四日晚间鲍勃迪伦大驾光临,Bumbershoot 艺术节还有好多活动。我去了美术展,买了纪念衫(图五),看了动画短片展映。发现有几本动画短片竟然是在去年底的SIGGRAPH ASIA会议中首映的。然后是视觉艺术展,其中人民群众广泛参与的作品“重画照片模特”就很生动(图二)。另外艺术家市集上卖很多小玩意。还看了玻璃工艺品的制作过程和马戏表演。

5 日晚选看 Billy Bragg 的演出。八十年代的工会先锋和社会活动家,很会演讲很煽情。最讨厌诸如星巴克的垄断连锁,尽管他的演出是星巴克赞助。奥巴马之流的狂热支持者,尽管是个英国人。代俎越庖的草根阶级代言人,尽管他的CD在所有表演者里卖得最贵。

6 日有雨,但冒雨去看 The Clientele 表演。三月份曾在芝加哥看过他们的演出,太精彩。多艺术多不受人重视的一支乐队。买了唱片找他们签名。抓拍一张。看完后又到处晃悠,结果雨越下越大。于是拿个塑料袋把唱片一扎,坐着Mono Rail从西雅图中心呼啸而出,钻进地下车站回了Bellevue。


图1:The Clientele给我签名。签字的是Alasdair MacLean,乐队主要人物。谁的歌词都没他写得好。爱丁堡大学文学系优秀毕业生。


图2:视觉艺术展上群众广泛参与的《重画照片模特》。美国人民很有才,形象地概括了奥普拉。


图3:磁带的妙用。同一个展览。


图4:九十年代西海岸举足轻重的独立唱片公司Sub Pop。


图5:西雅图招贴画。


图6:我在车站。

11
Mar 10

1940年的城市

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显然比现在繁华。


香槟市中心:Neil, Main和Church的四岔路口。


Neil和Walnut的三岔路口。

图上的建筑都还在。有兴趣的同志们可以去downtown比对一下。

25
Dec 09

在东京 (Letters to Niwako)

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______________________
Day -1: 横滨

I’m done with the talk! I’m free now. Actually the conference is not bad with an amazing visual art exhibition, an animation festival, and lots of galleries. Pretty fun to watch. And it finally makes me feel I’m doing something pleasant (to the eye at least).

So I decided to treat myself after tonight’s animation festival and went to a family restaurant. I ordered this fancy ice-cream (kind of Japanese style with sweet red beans, the 芦荟 stuff and the sticky rice stuff. It costs me 500 yen, but yummy.

I’m heading to Sugamo tomorrow afternoon. Still don’t have a detailed plan of what to do yet. Figured I’ll just walk around Sugamo and do some trip planning tomorrow.

Hope you are done with your stuff too. Looks like CU is still freaking cold 🙂

______________________
Day 1: 浅草・上野・皇居・巢鸭

After a very rushed planning (or no planning) I was out on my way checking out THE TOKYO CITY today. I started from 淺草, and continued to Ueno Park and National Tokyo Museum. Then a walk in the gardens of Imperial Palace. By 4:30pm I was back in that 地藏通商店街 just outside of my hotel, hunting for good dessert and food.

All places are cool. Well Ueno Park seems to be a bit surprise to me. It is actually more depressing than I imagined with homeless people wandering around and a huge gathering of old old people (don’t know what they were doing, looks like a religious gatherings or free food giveaway?). 淺草寺 is very fun to visit. A lot of interesting stuff to see. And the palace is unexpectedly quiet. I never thought there will be such quiet places in Tokyo. Then I wanted to go shopping in Akihabara, but found my legs were sore already, so I hopped on a train back to Sugamo.

You know what, so far my favorite place has been the 地藏通 shopping street in Sugamo! it’s hilarious with so many old ppl. And they even have a couple stores that specialize in red underwears! That is so funny. The temple was visited by so many ppl and looks cool with a wall of lanterns. I had my dinner in a random restaurant on the street, and ended up having a random dish ’cause the only kanji in the menu is “北海道” and “定食”. So I figured it might be a fish bento. Waitress don’t speak a word of English. The dish turned out to be pretty good. It was something like the “pork stuff” except pork is replaced by the fish. Was a nice experience eating in a real Japanese restaurant for Japanese ppl. (I expected it to be cheaper ’cause it’s in Sugamo, but unfortunately not. It still costs me around 700 yen). After that I bought some dessert from random vendors, including those 紫芋 stuff and 盐大福. I even bought some strawberries and 柿 considering I didn’t have real fruit for a couple of days.

Anyway it was just a chillin’ day with sightseeing and wandering around. Tomorrow I plan to throw myself in Harajuku and Shibuya for shopping and sightseeing and probably a couple museums in Harajuku area. If I’m still able to walk by the end of the day I’ll just have a look in those areas at night. After tomorrow I’ll hit Shinjuku for a whole day’s shopping. If that still doesn’t kill me I’ll maybe go to Akihabara for my last afternoon in Tokyo (I’m leaving evening 22nd).

Great experience. And end of my report, day 1. 🙂

______________________
Day 2: 涩谷・原宿・东京塔

So 2nd day was not as fruitful. I went to Harajuku and Shibuya in the hope of seeing teenage gangs in weird costumes. But I was out of luck. I went to the Meiji Shrine nearby, visited a 浮世绘 museum where you had to take off your shoes, some indie record stores, and had a walk in 竹下通. Harajuku was oh so crowded. Being a Chinese I thought I was immune to crazily crowded places, but this time I was still surprised. I have never have seen so many people on a normal sunday afternoon.

Then I went to Shibuya for some random shopping. And it turns out things sold at those dept stores are either crazy in price or crazy in style. I guess I’m too old for Shibuya (BTW I did see a few girls with overly done eyelashes/liners and jawdropping outfits in Shibuya). I just bought a scarf in Muji.

At night I thought I should go out see Tokyo at night (that’s what the city is famous for, isn’t it). So I hopped on the loop train and got off at the station close to Tokyo tower. Turns out it was not as spectacular as I’d expected. So I rambled for a while and went back.

______________________
Day 3: 新宿

The third day was fun again. I went to Shinjuku solely for shopping. And I ended up carrying three huge bags back to the tiny little apartment I was staying at. It was way over my budget, but I think it was worth it (See, how happy a person can be when he completely emerges himself into consumerism). Also got theskincare stuff to satisfy my mom.

Shinjuku looks amazing at night. It’s been a while since the last time I saw neon light flash like crazy. Was nice back in a real city again.

As a side note, today I did find someone that speaks understandable English. It was the Shiseido rep at a pharmacy. She even described to me what the skincare stuff is like and how popular it is in English. Interesting. But today’s English speaking award goes to a waitress in a random restaurant. She asked me “eat in or take out” and then “here is the menu in English” with very little Asian accent! Just as I secretively wowed, she started to talk to her fellow waitress in Chinese…. So she must be a college student doing her part time job I guess. And college students should at least speak some English. And most ppl I interacted with are waitress, front desk staff, random highschool girls and cashiers. And most likely they are not college educated. Does my theory make sense?

Alright, time to pack up (again). Got to get up early tomorrow. The checkout time is at 10am (ahh…). The hotel is nice and cozy, I like it (well except for the early checkout time). Did I mention I’m lovin’ Sugamo too?

______________________
Day 4: 上野・巢鸭

I was wondering where to go. And out of the blue I was taking a stroll in Ueno Zoo. Surprise surprise. 🙂 It was fun! I haven’t been to a zoo for like 20 years. It brought me sweet sweet memories. I love the unexpected ending to my trip in Japan.

Then I went back to Sugamo to pick up my luggage. I had one last visit to that 地藏通 shopping street. I saw smiling buddhas, burning incense, travelling monks, and so many grandmas pass by. All of a sudden nostalgia was in the air. I thought of all the young girls with heavy makeups talking and laughing in Shibuya. One day they’ll end up in 地藏通 saying their prayers to Buddha, shopping for a lucky red underwear. It’s only time.

09
Nov 09

还是要回香槟

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芝加哥待了几天,住在城乡结合部的旅馆里,三十块一晚,楼上楼下电灯电话,还带厨房,偶有怪味也就顾不上了。步行二十分钟去超市,牛奶面包,早上爬起来自己烤吐司。

日本领事馆寂寞得可以长出草来,加保安总共三人。我前面是一罗马尼亚大姐,三十秒走人。签证官还不是日本人,飞快地核对完我的 I-20 和护照号码,抬头说二十九块钱,明天两点领签证。三十秒走人。从来没那么快过,心里病态地高兴起来。多希望美国签证也是三十秒啊。多希望天朝的护照也是三个月免签啊。还没希望完就下了电梯,窗外一座巨大的购物中心,左边是 state 街,右边是北密大道,一推门就卷入资本主义的消费洪流。

原先计划的心灵美之旅自动报废,尽管附近就是现代艺术博物馆。天黑得早,随便找个花哨的餐馆钻进去,大鱼大肉吃到饱。乘车北上,重回被亚非拉人民占领了的城乡结合部,倒头便睡。早上醒来的时候面对窗外无边的停车场竟然不知身在何处,耳机里还在唱,人群中/我们边梦边走/我们是谁/我们是谁

接下来继续东奔西走,兜里揣着多了张新签证的护照逛二手书店和唱片店,晚上看看演出喝喝酒,自在到不可思议。只是如此生活的最后一个场景永远是在车站的无聊等待。这个结局令我无处躲藏。车站面对着联合公园漆黑的草坪和远处微明的城市轮廓,我想到旅馆里有两片吐司没吃完。行李还等着收拾。还有拖了几个月的无从下手的正经事。在空荡的车站我感到了巨大的虚无和厌倦袭来。在地铁上半梦半醒,瞥一眼黑乎乎的窗外,却看到自己一脸困倦的影子。车厢里的流浪汉和酒鬼都睡熟了,我和他们都暂忘了自己积重难返的生活,随着地铁呼啸前进。

02
Oct 09

微型同学会

我去过, 这些人 | | Shouts (10)

我的大学同学ZW 前两天开会,顺便来我校参观指导。我怀着愉悦的心情又做了一次地陪。在视察校园的过程中,ZW 同学不仅提出了“你们北方很冷风很大”这样宝贵的意见,也发出了“你们学校草坪真大呀”这样由衷的赞叹。更重要的是,他给我带来了最全面、最准确、最及时的大学同学各色八卦百余条,极大地拓宽了我的视野,使身在农村消息闭塞的我迅速跟上了时代。

傍晚,全民偶像——也是我们的大学同学——周导周教授在北京园亲切地接见了我和 ZW,并和我们座谈。能和教授座谈,我和ZW 的心里又激动又紧张。周导回答了ZW 提出的一些问题,精彩的发言令我们如沐春风。告别了周教授,ZW 想见识一下传说中“南有塔木,北有普度”里的普度,于是我们又连夜奔向普度。

在普度我们成功地围观了z 叔和他的部分家属;还赶上了电视里人口卫生方队和民主政治方队走过主席台。第二天z 叔带我们参观了clean room、普度村和菜地。在菜地里,同为农工类技术学院的学子,大家对米国的农业发展进行了交流。我着重讲解了我省的拳头产品玉米;ZW 则介绍了佐治亚长势喜人的棉花;z 叔作为东道主直接将我们带入自家菜地,展示了印第安那蓬勃发展的小农经济。之后我们还走访了普度校园,但校园风光与我校的王牌景区玉米地相比稍逊风骚。

在见了老同学听了新八卦以后我们就离开了普度。估计z叔又要全副武装地冲进clean room继续做实验;ZW在某气候很干燥政府快破产的IT民工大省找了工作也即将奔赴劳动生产第一线;我则继续呆在办公室里醒醒睡睡,跟老板斗智斗勇,为早日实现民工化而奋斗。

16
Mar 09

另一次在芝加哥

我去过, 这些人 | | Shouts (6)

我们去了城市的北面。教授 B 用谷歌地图拼命寻找美国最好的连锁咖啡店。在这间香喷喷的咖啡店里我们聊天,我有一句没一句地听教授A和教授B讲他们学术圈的八卦。我们是俩教授一博士生,高学历旅游团。

下午两点,最悠闲的时间泡在名叫 Reckless Records 的一家二手唱片店。店里的音乐倒毫不粗鲁,铺天盖地的旧CD 在我们眼前散发出神奇的光芒。然后就在 Boystown 里瞎逛,教授A在珍宝岛超市买到了家乡的奶酪和番茄罐头,我找到了三种生僻口味的运动牌巧克力。超市外面布满阳光,歪歪斜斜的街道彩虹飘飘。在温暖的春日里,这个几乎在我的眼里一度抽象成一个车站一所大学和两条地铁线的城市又变得如此美好。街角的 Tea & Coffee Exchange,白色的布袋里装着的咖啡豆和草药以及播放着的 Kings of Convenience,明亮的书店和整架整架的色情书籍,都让这个城市容光焕发。我跟教授们说,我又一次爱上芝加哥了。

因为赶上圣帕特里克节前的周末,我们在回旅馆的路上亲眼看见了被染得翠绿的芝加哥河。绿色的人群开始聚集在酒吧外,乱作一团。绿色的爱尔兰人的心啊,只有通过啤酒和烂醉如泥才看得清。我们一路向南,在太阳下山前终于来到了美国的韶山——五十一街海德公园。尽管被警察驱赶到了街的另一边,教授们仍然怀着朝圣的心情远远地和巴马的别墅合了影。

晚餐前,我们在家庭旅馆里跟一只黑猫分享了奶酪和红酒。教授A 安静地看起一本菲利普普尔曼的小说。我上网骚扰汤汤,说这是有趣的一天。晚上九点我们去了永远需要排队、午夜一点才打烊的餐馆 Avec。在漫长的等待时间里,教授B 提议去坐地铁环线。在地铁里,在旅客困顿的脸上,在周围的黑暗和写字楼的灯光下,我所熟悉的那个芝加哥的样子又出现了,顿时心情复杂起来。

酒足饭饱时已近午夜。教授B 取消了夜店行程,我们回到旅馆。然后又是半梦半醒,在晨昏交替时我与教授们告别,坐上 Metra 回到市中心。七点,我在湖边遇见了日出。湖边空无一人,水鸟都把头伏在翅膀下休息。我坐在长椅上看朝阳慢慢升起,忽然很感动。我的感动随着日出持续了几分钟,最后还是背起书包,穿过湖边绿地和广场,头也不回地向联合车站走去。

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…the storm is finally over, the sky wild and exhausted. We went up to the observatory and the gods were with us. They gave us the most beautiful rainbow i've ever seen. I closed my eyes and cried.