Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's a Series of Tubes

Oh, good! I have the internet again.

Ukranian President Victor Yushchenko was in town today, and I didn't get to go check out his Legislature appearance because I had a dentist's appointment. Mind you, had the dentist's appointment not been today, I would have missed it anyway because of work. (Alas.)

So that was too bad, but hey! I'm not too broken up about it. Today may have been an exciting and important ceremonial event for Winnipeggers, but so was yesterday -- because yesterday, as you were no doubt well aware, was 50% off at all Value Village locations in the city.


I know I've mentioned this before, but half-off everything? That shit is like catnip for us Winnipeg folk! And, yes, I'm including myself in that statement; don't expect any rebellious outsider aesthetic from me on this one! The likelihood of finding pants that fit me in a second-hand store is almost statistically insignificant -- because, man, you people are short -- but the hell if I ever turn down the opportunity to look for cheap old stuff, especially given my predilections for discounted music. I'm not gonna pay a lot for this muffler Herb Alpert album!

I headed over to the Pembina location right after work yesterday; I got off work at 6:00 PM, so you can imagine how the store was A) crowded as all hell and B) already mostly looted. Still, not many people go digging specifically through the CDs or cassettes or LPs (or 45s; what the hell am I doing, I can't afford to start collecting 45s), so I went ahead and loaded up on albums.

The albums aren't the main thrust of this post, though; I'll tell you about them another time, especially since I have to get some of these suckers tranferred into MP3 format for you guys. No, the reason I'm writing about my Value Village exploits at such great length is because I literally cannot shut up about this, physically cannot restrain myself from bursting with excitement about my biggest purchase:


It was plugged in at the store's electrical testing area (read: the wall with a working plug in it) when I found it. And it was marked at twenty dollars, which means it was actually ten.

No doubt some of you recognize it immediately, and are most likely laughing at me for even buying it -- but for those of you who haven't identified it, let me open 'er up:

Ha ha ha ha oh my god I own an oldschool synthesizer-organ. Four octaves, fourty-eight keys, all tubes.

I can't stress that last part enough. Technology nowadays is neat, sure; you can buy sophisticated keyboards made out of super-lightweight parts that can passably imitate the noises of all variety of piano-type instruments. But when you want the warm and hilariously dated sound of synthesizers past, like you're living in an old-time radio play or a National Film Board of Canada short, then you need a wacky old tube organ. Well, okay, not 'you' necessarily; I need a wacky old tube organ, or at least I'm certainly convinced that I do, and I don't know how I got along this far without one.

Flip the switch and a bright red light fires up right above it; if you rest your hands on it you can actually feel the tubes and Soviet-era machinery firing to life beneath the wood panelling, like a doomsday device that forgot what it was supposed to be doing and decided to make funny noises instead.

How old is it? Good question! I have no idea how old this thing actually is. I'm sure I'll find out soon enough, once I've scoured the internet for information, but if pressed about its age the best I could do right now is to blurt out "SO OLD" and make incredulous motions with my hands to indicate that, yes, it is very old.

I can't give you a definite year (SO OLD), but I can definitely say that it was a simpler time back then --

-- because the only two options are 'SOFT' and 'LOUD'. No middle ground, no intermediate clicks on the switch; you are either playing softly or you are playing loudly. I guess volume control was a lot more direct back before people invented switches and dials with numbers on them.

I don't actually know how to play the piano, or at least not very well at all, but that's a minor point. Hell with that! I'll learn it as I go along. Right now I can walk up to it, turn it on, and play a single chord that sounds like a plot point in a black-and-white horror film -- and I'm satisfied! I can turn it off again and walk away after that, having already gleamed my ten dollars' worth for the day.

Second-hand stores are awesome, you guys!


tyler said...

You know what I'm thinkin'

doo ah loo ah loo ah loo ah loo ah loo..................................

Keith said...

You made a promise. You sir must keep that promise.

Well I'm waiting......

James Howard said...

Oh, it's nowhere near any recording equipment yet; hell, I have yet to even figure out what this beast actually is! These things take time!