shirts

#718: Phases

GETTING MORE TALE #718:  Phases

Do you go through phases?  Perhaps you had a Hawaiian shirt phase (I did).  Maybe you had a period when you were really into crème brûlée.  It’s alright.  Don’t be ashamed.  Lets talk about different phases.

There’s always a spark.  Look back at your own phases.  Can you pinpoint something that started it?

The first time I heard Marillion was by pure chance.  A customer who liked me came in and sold three minty Marillion remasters.  (The bosses hated this customer, but he liked me because I gave him good money for his music.  The bosses thought I paid him too much and “spoiled” him so to speak.)  The three Marillion remasters he sold were  Script For A Jester’s Tear, Fugazi, and Misplaced Childhood.  Iron Tom Sharpe recommended I buy Misplaced as my first.  I spent a weekend with it and wanted more.  “Kayleigh” was absolutely immediate.  I knew it was the hit after a few verses.

A painful breakup later that year intensified my Marillion lust.  I went to their website and was astounded by what I saw:  a dozen or so exclusive albums only available online.  Some were sold out, such as Live at the Borderline.  Those that were not sold out went into my shopping cart, and showed up at my house a couple weeks later!  I even signed up for the fan club to get the free Christmas CD, and I pre-ordered their next studio album (unheard of back then).

I wasn’t done.  I wanted to track down the unavailable things.  Ebay had some and that’s how I ended up paying $300 for marillionrochester.  Only 2000 copies of it were ever made, which were sent directly to fans who donated to their 1997 American tour fund.  It’s signed and it is a holy grail item if there ever was one.  And I have it and it’s a much-loved part of my collection.

This Marillion phase also inspired a small Scottish phase.  I’m half Scottish and Marillion’s early lyrics got me interested in exploring that side of my history.  That culminated in my Rampant Lion tattoo.  I’m sure the actual Scottish guy at work, who was born and raised there, must have thought I was a wannabe.  (I probably was.)  I’m also half Italian but all I could think of for that tattoo was a bowl of spaghetti.

The shirt phase was a real thing too.  I bought a lot of shirts and not just Hawaiian.  This phase merited its own chapter:  Record Store Tales Part 249:  The Shirts.

Ugggh.

There was a Lego phase.  This was sparked inadvertently by T-Rev.  He had a giant sack of Lego from his childhood.  A lot of it was space Lego.  We spent an afternoon organising it to sell on Ebay.  He eventually got a few hundred bucks for the sack, but that afternoon of going through it all was naturally nostalgic.  So, I bought a Star Wars Lego set.  It was the Ultimate Collector Series X-Wing fighter.  Go big or go home.

It starts with one, and it just escalated from there.

The problems with collecting Lego are multiple.  Not only is it a real rabbit’s hole, but it’s just not easy to display.  When Lego gets dusty it’s a pain in the ass to clean.  Bits and pieces pop off when you dust.  And spouses tend to knock them over and try to put them back together without you noticing.  Some of those sets are just too huge to display.

My Lego collecting ended with the Star Wars prequel trilogy in 2005.  The new releases became boring after that, and the shelf space issue had peaked.  I sold almost all of it in favour of my next phase:  robots.

Transformers were a huge part of my childhood, probably more so than Lego originally was, because Transformers had an ongoing Marvel comic series keeping me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next issue.  Transformers came back into my life in 2006, just by fiddling with a Beast Wars toy that was sitting around the office.    This phase has not really abated.  These transforming figures are more than just toys.  The high-end ones are functional pieces of art.

There were a few years of a Black Sabbath phase, where I obsessed to collect “everything” just like I did with Marillion.  I had a couple really good years of collecting Deep Purple in bursts.  The internet opened up a lot of avenues.  It was easy to get rare things like Stormbringer on CD.  You just had to be prepared to pay for it.

What about tattoos and piercings?  Were they a phase?  No — I still have one earring (left tragus) and it’s more a professional thing today.  And priorities.  My “thing” for tattooed and pierced girls must have been a phase, though.  Mrs. LeBrain has neither!  Not even her ears.

All my interests over the years have ebbed and flowed, except one:  my love of Rock and Roll.  35-odd years and we are still together.  And more in love than ever.  It’s been there for me every time.  Virtually every story on this site is associated with music.  That’s a beautiful thing.

 

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Part 249: The Shirts

RECORD STORE TALES Part 249:  The Shirts

“Mikey,” said Trevor one afternoon, “I’m talking to you as a friend.  I know you don’t want to stay single forever.  I’m only try to help you out, but…that style you’re rocking just isn’t working man.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.  I thought I was actually dressed pretty cool.

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shorts n’ docs

“Well,” Trevor continued, “You’re wearing Doc Marten boots with shorts and a Deep Purple T-shirt.  It’s like you’re wearing three looks at once.  What you need to do is focus on one look and go with it.”

I was shell-shocked.  My Doc Marten boots were the bomb!  Deep Purple rules!

“But the boots and shorts are kind of grunge, right?  And that’s cool.”  My counterargument was sound.

“Yeah but the Deep Purple shirt isn’t grunge.  You see?  Trust me Mikey.  I’m just trying to look out for you.  I’ll take you shopping, and after that, you re going to get tons of action!”

Tons of action!  Right on.  I’m in, T-Rev, say no more man!

True to his word, that Saturday, T-Rev picked me up and took me to the mall.  And shop we did.  Apparently Hawaiian was in.  I picked up a Hawiian shirt and this cool burgundy velvety shirt.  I also picked up a couple T-shirts to wear underneath, and a beaded necklace which also was apparently in at the time.  That night, Trevor’s lovely then-girlfriend now-wife Michelle threw him a birthday party and I was able to give the burgundy shirt a test-run in a social environment.  While I did not see any “action”, the feedback was positive.  I have to say that I rocked the look really well and received numerous compliments.

Unfortunately, this kicked off a shirt addiction.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I had a flirtation with shirt addiction that lasted a couple years.  Next I bought an expensive black shirt with cool ridges at a place called Caesar’s Closet in Cambridge.  Then another burgundy shirt, even more velvety.  Then a black one with sparkles in it.  (That was my favourite, it later got recycled into my Paul Stanley Halloween costume.)  Two with flames.  One with guitars.  One with dice.  One that was shiny like a foil-wrapped baked potato, and many many more.  My bosses may have thought I’d lost my mind, as I showed up at the record store in more and more outlandish shirts.  I ended up with at least two dozen in my collection.

When I wore the silver baked potato shirt to work one day, one of my bosses was nearly blinded by it.  “Mike!  That’s a shirt for clubbing!”  Well, probably, but working in a record store gave me a certain amount of leeway that other jobs didn’t have.  I guess I wanted to have fun while I was young!

My “shirts phase” lasted a couple years before it finally faded away.  The obsession was excessive though.  One cottage weekend I packed 7 shirts for a 2 day stay.  By the end of it, I had even written a movie outline for a horror comedy film titled “The Shirt”.  The premise:

A cursed Hawaiian shirt finds its way into a clueless vacationer’s luggage.  The shirt kills those who wear it by strangulation; it can also possess the minds of those it has an affinity for.  Putting on the shirt could get you killed, or possessed — or both!  The evil shirt’s only weakness is bleach.

I’m hoping to get James Franco interested in playing the main character, the guy who makes it to the end of the movie.

Surprisingly few photos remain of my expansive shirt collection.  Perhaps that is a good thing.

More SHIRTS at mikeladano.com:
Record Store Tales Part 86: Captain Gold Shirt