Part 243: Return to Niagara Falls

Since I abandoned chronological order shortly after Part 10, everything’s been scattershot since.  This story takes place a month before the events in Part 102: Dumped in Barrie.  It features she who dumped me in Barrie, as well as friends from Part 64: Niagara Falls, and the title character from Part 155: Sarge.  Got all that?

RECORD STORE TALES Part 243:  Return to Niagara Falls

A cold Saturday morning, JJJulie and I headed down to St. Catharines, Ontario.  The purpose of our visit was to hang out with our Record Store friends in The Legendary Klopeks, and Sarge, who had flown in from Bournemouth, England!  Sarge was an imposing figure, with steampunk top hat and platform boots.  We’d been communicating online for a while and we were all looking forward to his visit.  He ended up helping the Klopeks book some gigs overseas later.

Lemon Kurri Klopek, you may remember, co-owned one of our stores.  JJJulie and I rendezvoused with him at his store, where I spent some money.  (Astute readers will realize that for me to buy a CD from Lemon Kurri, a franchisee, was against the rules!  We had some pretty stupid rules.)

The lot of us grabbed some fancy dinner together, a motley crew of tattoos, piercings, leather, and rock and roll.  Although we spent a lot of money and were nothing but polite, our appearances were apparently too much for the upscale restaurant folk.  We were given our bills and pointedly not asked if we wanted to order from the dessert menu.

We fit in much better later on at a bar in St. Catharines, where Sarge presided regaling us with stories about Lemmy from Motorhead and others.  I normally don’t like bars, but everybody seemed to know everybody there.  Sarge then presented me a Motorhead tour shirt, a gift I still have (although packed away in a box).  We had a pretty solid time, and the place was mostly empty so my crowd phobia didn’t really kick in.


The Rockmobile

The following day, Sunday, we took a trip across the border to do some shopping. We all piled into Lemon Kurri Klopek’s Rockmobile.  There was some kind of outlet mall in Niagara Falls, USA that was supposed to be pretty cool.  JJJulie wanted to buy shoes (whoop-de-do!) but I was told there were a couple good toy stores there.

At K.B. Toys I found the Star Wars Game of Life for $9.99, which I still have.  That was a score.  I kept it sealed.  At that price I should have bought a second one and sold it or given it away as a gift.  But that wasn’t the only mistake I made on that trip.  A further stop at a US record store turned up a find that I didn’t know existed.

I’m admittedly not a fan of the Alice Cooper Brutal Planet period. I am however a completist, so I was still interested when I saw a Brutally Live CD/DVD combo pack.  We had the DVD in Canada, but not the CD, and CD is still my primary format.  It was $25, and I decided to pass on it simply because I knew I wasn’t going to play it that often.

Maintaining a balance between “I won’t play it that often” and “I still want it for the collection” is tricky sometimes, and erring on the side of budget, I decided to pass on the Brutally Live set for the moment.  As soon as I got back home and checked online, I regretted that decision.  I couldn’t get it from any Canadian sellers and buying from an American one was going to cost me at least $35.  (Happy ending:  About five years down the road, it was released in Canada at a budget price!  I have it now.)

My Star Wars Game of Life was a good score.  On eBay, there’s one (not sealed like mine) going for $25.99 (buy it now).  There are none on eBay that are unopened at the time of this writing.  I think I’ll hang onto mine and wait for the release of Episode VII to sell!


  1. That sounds like a fun time. I love it when those greasy longhair reprobates (hahaha) get in the face of the hoity toitys! :)

    You know, my Nana always held the opinion that if you see something you want, and you can afford it, buy it then. Like that Alice set, she’d have told you to buy it, not leave it. Why? Because when you go back, it’ll be gone. How many times in my life I ignored that advice and she was proven right time and again. When you get caught up in those “should I?” moments, the answer is always YES! :) Stock in record stores is too transient, you may never see it again. Luckily for you, in this case, Alice got it released here.

    Man, I just recalled the first time she told me that bit of advice, it was over a GI Joe figure (I cannot recall which) I’d wanted, left it, went back for it and it was gone. So yeah, that goes way back to when I was a kid. Still with me today, even though she isn’t, anymore. Smart lady, that one.


    1. I remember your Nana’s advice. Very wise and something I have taken to heart since.

      I’m wondering which Joe you were looking for? I bet I had it! Can you describe it?


      1. Yup, she had a lot of sayings, all of them true. Should’ve made a book of them.

        Which Joe? Damn man, my memory’s not THAT good! I didn’t have all of them anyway. I still have them here, all in a shoebox. And all the weapons are in a Crown Royal bag. Now, I know they are all there because I was scrupulous with that stuff. But as to which gun goes with which figure? See above comment about memory… I still have all the vehicles, too, some big stuff. A two-rotor helicopter, a blue VTOL plane, the old original base, a whole box of it. I kept it all nice. Won’t be giving it to my kids, probably. Who knows, if I keep it long enough, it might buy them 5 minutes at college 15 years from now…


        1. I’m salivating right now. I really am, I had the two rotor ‘copter. The Tomahawk. It’s in my parents’ basement right now. I love the side doors. The blue VTOL plane is the Cobra Rattler. It made a dramatic first appearance in the comic series, where it was shot down by Roadblock, with nothing but a 30 cal machine gun, hand-held!


        2. Tomahawk! That was it! Yeah, that’s here. Rattler rings a bell too. And I had the green jeep with the gun on top, and the little chariot thingy that looked like a cobra, and the little sled thing that the guy with the mask/face had… Zoltan? Zoltar? Something about shifting colours or glow in the darl or something? Anyway. The four-wheeler, the snow cat thing… I kept all the missiles and everything, should all be intact.

          I love that this stuff makes you salivate. It’s all been in boxes since I was a kid, stored at my parents’ house. And when I moved back to Ontario they said “Here. YOU store it now!” Haha.

          All my Star Wars stuff too, from way back to the first movie.


        3. Not bad man. The names of your toys are:
          Jeep – the Vamp (with Clutch)
          Sled – Chameleon (with Zartan)
          Chariot – that was Serpentor’s Chariot which unsurprisingly came with Cobra Emperor Serpentor.
          Snow Cat was Snow Cat!


        4. Zartan! Man, you’re good at this! I used to have fun with the snow cat (I love the snow) and I also had the Snow Job figure (with skis) to go with it. I had lots of winter adventures.

          You mentioned Roadblock too, I had him, but something in my memory says it was a second edition? Like, they made him more muscular and made his gun ridiclously big too. I could be wrong about that, maybe there was only ever the one? It’s been years.

          I really don’t remember the Vamp name. I looked it up (thanks Wiki) and they called it A.W.E. Striker. This is the one I have.


        5. Ahh! The A.W.E. Striker was the next-gen Jeep, cool. I never had it. Came with Crankcase I think? I did have Crankcase as a mail away figure.

          You also had the second gen Roadblock, which is the same one I had. I always wanted the first one. He had a cool helmet, back pack, 30 cal machine gun, he was awesome. Maybe he was hard to find at retail, but I never had him, which is unusual for me. Usually I would make sure I had all the key characters, but I never had him, nor Firefly — the Cobra saboteur.


        6. FIREFLY! Dude! That was the one I didn’t buy and when I went back it was gone!!! I never got him later, either (I don’t think), though a kid in my neighbourhood had him. Damn, that was freaky how you just did that.


        7. A kid in my neighborhood had him too. Ian Johnson. He had the green gun, backpack…and WALKIE TALKIE. An accessory very few Joes came with!

          Personally I feel that the year we’re discussing, which was the 1984 line, was the peak of the series. Both for the comics, and the toys.

          The hovercraft was my pride and joy.


        8. Hovercraft… I don’t think that’s the one I have, mine was a hydrofoil, maroon in colour. A Cobra boat. Very cool. I didn’t know anyone who had the hovercraft…


        9. That hydrofoil was bad ass! The sheer number of weapons…depth charges, side machine guns, turret, forward cannons, torpedoes and missiles…that thing was a beast.


        10. Yeah I liked that one. It’s here too. I’d forgotten about the depth charge, looked like little barrels. Fun! All this stuff is in a great big hinged-lid box under the stairwell. Crazy to be remembering it all.


        11. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, that I have near perfect recall and all this stuff, but I can’t remember to take out the garbage. I didn’t have to look any of that up, I just…recalled it.


        12. That’s what post-it notes are for, man. Or a whiteboard. For all the non-essential (like GI Joe info) stuff, the day to day crap.

          If your recall is so good, you should come up some weekend and we’ll drag all this stuff out and you can help me sort out figures and weapons and all that stuff. I’m afraid right now it may be a little mixed up…


        13. You have no idea how much fun that would be for me! I even have an awesome guide book, which details every guy and accessory and vehicle in detail. I’d have a blast.


  2. I’m glad you finally got the Brutal Planet set – good choice! I love that DVD, my favorite Alice video! Of course, I’m not biased or anything, being the diehard fan that I am…


    1. Yes, I remember from Rich’s Cooper series, we had this discussion about Brutal Planet. I have to give the live album another shot. That drone-y down tuned sound isn’t usually my cup o tea! But as you see I have it, so I can try it any time I like.


    2. Oh, By the way BeeDee! I forgot to mention. I recently acquired some Alice Cooper rarities. One will be part of a series that is coming very very soon. You may have this rarity, you may not, but I’m not telling until we get there :)


  3. I’ll look forward to that. If I don’t have it, I probably should have it, right? As for the Brutal Planet DVD, the second half of the concert is the best part. I do love the sound of that time, especially on Dragontown – some great songs there.


    1. That’s where we differ on Brutal Planet, the sound of the time. But I do like Dragontown’s vibe more as well. Brutal Planet had that alterna-industrial vibe that I never fully embraced. However Alice is one of the most prolific and diverse rock artists of our time and more than capable of doing that sound. It’s just personal taste that I’m not too into that trifecta of albums.

      The special I’m talking about forthcoming will also be a vinyl exclusive release.


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