Although Christmas is supposed to be a time for giving and spreading good cheer, it's also the yearly chance to find out just how little family and friends know you by the worthless gifts you get. Sometimes, carelessly chosen presents are enough to add additional layers of outstanding familial issues that are already as thick and leathery as leftover roast beef on Boxing Day.
Hey, I'm just as guilty as them. Forgetting about family and friends for most of the year except for the week leading up to Christmas day is usually my MO. Christmas day is a chance to catch my breath from the mad dash of the previous 48 hours where I desperately tried to find a gift related to the one or two words I've used to identify them as people. For example - Shelley = "fishing" and "knitting", Adrian = "hockey fan" and "beer", Mike = "Pottery Barn" and "stamps" etc. etc.
But touché, I say. If I had a dollar for every unsuited gift I've received from them, I'd have enough money to buy something I actually want. So, every year, in an effort to balance out the depleted wallet and the deluge of disappointment, I do exactly that and buy what I really goddamn want. This year was no different.
Here's what I bought myself last year.
Here's what I bought myself this year:
Misery Obscura by Eerie Von
A photo tome of immeasurable worth. If you're even a passing fan of the Misfits/Samhain/Danzig triumvirate you need to own this book. This is the very first-hand photography from Eerie Von -- Samhain/Danzig bassist and official Misfit photographer. I saw photos from this leading up to its release back in 2009 and I could not believe I was looking at the now-mythical original Misfits hanging out backstage, hanging out at a diner, Doyle in high school, live shots of Samhain bloodbath shows, in the studio with Danzig etc.
I always thought this was a limited run where remaining copies would quickly fetch hundreds of dollars but Dark Horse Books have kept it in print and stemmed all those greedy hounds at bay. I almost blew it by waiting this long to own this. Buy this before you can't.
Lumbar - The First And Last Days Of Unwelcome
Lumbar is the audio equivalent of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. It's the results, or rather the aftermath, of when singer/guitarist, Mike Scheidt (YOB), met up with singer/guitarist, Tad Doyle (Tad/Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth), rounded out by Aaron Edge on drums (Roareth/BOTSC). As a huge fan of both Scheidt and Doyle's individual work, I started to froth at the mouth upon finding out about the project. Hearing Scheidt's commanding vibrato launch the album brings goosebumps that can't be fought off.
Of course, I need this on vinyl but was too late to snag the first run of 777 copies due to my hesitation of hotel wifi while on tour. I went ahead and bought it on iTunes once at home only to hear there's another run being readied by label, Southern Lord. I guess I'd buy this on 8-track tape if I had to just so I can say I own it 4 different ways.
Casablanca Records shirt
When you become such a fan of something or someone that what originally made you a fan is almost boring, you have officially crossed over and become a psycho fan. When it comes to Kiss, I have listened to their music so much that almost all their songs are like listening to "Happy Birthday" over and over again. I own so much of their merchandise that it's like wallpaper now. But I need to have the band constantly in my life so what's a Kiss fan to do? Start purchasing items that are merely "related" to, but not actually affiliated with, the band. So, I bought a bootleg Casablanca Records t-shirt, their original label from 1974 to 1982, almost to act as code for other Kiss fans to spot and immediately know...that I know.
If I somebody could tell me Paul Stanley's favourite pizza joint and if that pizza joint sold t-shirts, I'd buy one too. Know what I mean?
Face Off & Big League Manager
As much as I admit to not being that big of a sports nut, I do love playing simulated sporting games, be them board games or video games. I used to own "Face Off", the hockey management game for kids put out by House Of Games and endorsed by Howie Meeker himself. Of course I had to track it down via ebay but upon opening its contents knew I needed an update so I went out and bought "Big League Manager", developed by CBC's very own Ian Hanomansing and endorsed by the NHL.
Coreyography by Corey Feldman
Watching "Ascension Millennium", Corey Feldman's impeccable 2013 music video on Youtube, will make you an immediate fan. You can't just watch it once. You need to watch it a minimum of 50 times. My count is now in the triple digits. It's a pièce de résistance that will make you realize Corey Feldman is in a stratum all his own.
Hanging out with rapper Derek Christoff a.k.a. D-Sisive recently and listening to him deliver an impromptu master class on Feldman like it was lecture on Orson Welles or Stanley Kubrick made me march out to the bookstore, purchase his autobiography, "Coreyography", and start studying.
Book by Jesus Lizard
There is finally a book that captures the godhead megalithic monstrosity that was the Jesus Lizard. For a band that was able to stay in the shadows in spite of its massive underground following, "Book" is a 176 page exhaustive work exposing the quartet through photos and writings from the band members themselves.
One click glance though and I know this is going to be one of my favourite books of all-time just like their album "Goat" is one of my favourite albums of all-time. Just the inkling of this book's existence had me scrambling to the Joyful Noise website and ordering the deluxe version which included a signed "Fly On The Wall" 7", David Yow solo album and accompanying dvd.
Three's Company 1978 Topps Complete 44 Card/Sticker Set
Despite The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Eastbound & Down and Curb Your Enthusiasm entering my life to entertain me to no end, Three's Company will always be the greatest television show ever made. Hell, if I had to choose between Star Wars or Three's Company, it would be Three's Company. If I had to choose between never hearing Led Zeppelin again or never seeing a Three's Company episode ever again, you could pretty much take your Four Sticks and stick 'em up your ass.
And as the years march on with four of the show's main cast having passed away, it's starting to dawn on me that there soon won't be much hoopla left for the show and I must prime for acquisition mode. Past the 8 seasons on dvd, there isn't much to own by way of official merchandise except for a few items like the Three's Company card set made at the height of the show's popularity back in '78.
Do I need it? Nope. Why did I buy it? Have no idea. Will I ever look at it? Probably not.