Ever have one of those dreams where you find a trove of wonderful and unusual stuff? Like a set of rare and incredible CDs by your favorite band; CDs that don’t exist but in your dream life?
I once had an experience like that, except it was real. At least I think it was real. Sometimes it seems so amazing that I’m not convinced it wasn’t a dream.
I was a junior in high school, I think, and I’d recently discovered the band Sparks. I had a double CD retrospective of their work that I listened to constantly, but their other albums (and they have a ton of them) were downright impossible to find, especially in and around a bumfuck little town like mine.
One summer evening a friend and I were cruising around, bored, and decided to visit the Regency Mall, without a doubt the most depressing mall in my area (it probably doesn’t exist anymore), all sad old stores and shuffling, grey-haired clientele. There was, however a record store, and one that (curiously) sold actual records in a small bin toward the back. This store was called Backstreet Records, and I hadn’t been there in years.
But shuffling through the stacks I found not one, not two, but FIVE Sparks albums. Sparks are not the most popular band in the world, and to find this stack of albums amounted to something like divine providence. The one I’d wanted most of all, “Angst In My Pants,” was right there, for three dollars.
I also found an original pressing of the Them (featuring Van Morrison) self-titled album, which I still have and is actually worth a bit of money. Tucked inside that one was all this Van Morrison memorabilia that some fan had cut out and saved.
I will never forget that moment of finding, in the most unlikely of places, a few of the things I wanted most in this world. It was magical.
As for Sparks, my favorite album is probably “No 1 in Heaven,” which is their throbbing Giorgio Morodor-produced disco album, if you could call it that. “Kimono My House” comes in a close second. I haven’t kept up with their recent work because “Little Beethoven” didn’t grab me so much, but I’ve heard a bit of their latest and it sounds pretty good.