Tool of the Devil
Chicago's Pitchfork Festival was innocent fun – until the serpent (record fair) started waving apples (records).
It’s come to my attention that the records are now following me. This is a troubling state of affairs. I walked into a convenience store yesterday to buy water and an apple, only to be greeted by Miles Davis and Horace Silver staring at me from behind the glass of the checkout counter. My world seems to be turning at 33.3 revolutions per minute.
This continues at the Pitchfork festival in Union Park. I’m having a perfectly relaxing time ambling about eating pork sandwiches, enjoying the novelty of getting absolutely cocked on by intense showers in a country that’s actually hot, as well as the heat of the sun on my neck as Flying Lotus does incomprehensible things with a bit of Akai kit and a laptop, when from the tent to my right comes the call of temptation from a record fair. ‘Hey Daaaave,’ it hisses. ‘Come ooooooooon…’ The fruit looks really rosy and ripe.
I can handle this, I figure, so I trot dutifully in, and soon find myself at the stall set up by Reckless Records, a store on Milwaukee Avenue, near where I’m staying. A cursory rummage reveals EPMD’s ‘You Gots To Chill’ 12” for $2 and, ridiculously, DJ Krush’s ‘Meiso’ double vinyl for $6. What’s with this country? Also, for $5, a copy of Nat Adderley’s ‘Soul of the Bible’ double LP, that rare but sweet combination of David Axelrod production, jazz, and some dude narrating bits of the scriptures.
I’ve also been carrying round the secret aim of finding Thin Lizzy’s ‘Johnny the Fox’ album. And here it is in mint condition. Still, I'm plagued by weird feelings of guilt. At $10 it would be the most expensive buy of the trip so far, and literally the only reason I’d be getting it is because of a 10-second drum break on the track ‘Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed’. And I’m not even a real hip-hop producer or a DJ so I have almost no use for it whatsoever. Damn you, sweet records. That said, it is a key part of Edan’s beat-juggling-while-rhyming routine and it is really good. But $10 for 10 seconds just seems stupid. I spend at least five minutes just staring at it and realize I’m being an idiot. So I put it back. And spend the next hour calling myself an idiot for putting it back. A bit like if Adam had gone for a walk to sort his head out instead of rolling around with Eve.
I explain my angst to Matt, the bearded bloke behind the counter. ‘If you want the really good stuff you should go out to Michigan or Milwaukee,’ he says, with forked tongue. His theory is that while Chicago is really good for records, you’ll get better stuff even cheaper if you head out to the surrounding cities, where there are fewer people hunting the good stuff. He mentions one electronic band he loved, a band he’d never seen anywhere on vinyl. He found four of their albums in one store in Michigan.
And so it continues. Looks like next week I'll be leaving the city to go gathering fruit...