An Album Called Blood Visions and how not to get rid of your cd collection
It’s not a substitute
It’s not a substitute
But it will do
It’s not a substitute
It’s not a substitute
-Not A Substitute by Jay Reatard
I am powerless against the vividness and indiscriminate nature of memory. They pop and snap inside me and get under the skin. I hold them in parts of my body that ache with the force and strength of them.
You may think that if there is an object that encapsulates a particular memory is lost it means the memory can fade easier into nothing. You would be wrong. I have a history of getting rid of things with a perceived amount of impunity. I would rather regret getting rid of something than keep too much stuff. It has no affect on my inability to forget certain things.
This need to feel untethered to things that could slow me down can be traced back to childhood involving sneaking out garbage bags full of things with my Father while my mother is away for the day. I know a lot more about what causes a deep-seated need to hold on to things. My friend Sarah Jansen has dedicated an entire issue of her Neuroticarium zine ( issue 2 Objects) to the psychology and causation of hoarding. It is brilliant. Benjamin Law has even written a play that explores the issue with im sure humor and empathy. It is easier to move from one rental to another if you don’t have too much.
Every time I have moved I use it as an opportunity to declutter my life and start again. Its easier to do this when you are not in a position to worry about anyone but yourself. I don’t have kids so I don’t need to worry about whether or not I will need something down the line that will be annoying to have to buy again. Living light is not something people in big families, little money and intergenerational trauma can do. If you are raised in an environment of scarcity and lack it is easy to see why you would be compelled to hold onto things that to others seem useless, ‘’just in case.’’
So I lean the other way in order to ensure I do not end up like a certain loved one. The last time I moved I became obsessed with the idea of getting rid of things in an extra focused way. I would be living in an apartment and this meant I did not want to be living a place crowded and cluttered with junk. The very idea made me anxious. I went deep into getting rid of things and ‘minimizing’ my overall existence. I get rid of clothes and books by the bag and box load. I end up donating an entire two boxes of books (good books in good condition) to a school book drive. I am high on minimizing and, doing good.
I got rid of my cds. I had been holding onto them for ages and finally decided that this was the time to get rid of them. It was that or my records. The choice was easy. I went through them and held certain ones with affection and others with embarrassment. I could not justify keeping one or two it was get rid of them all or keep them all. No middle ground.
That’s how I came to take the whole collection of mostly emo and punk cds to a second hand place called Dixons Recycled in Blackburn. My partner drove me and did not get rid of any of his cds as they are kept at his parents place.
I was so excited about lightening the load of things I needed to be moved that my attention was sporadic and already jumping to the next project on my mental list. I was also not wearing my glasses as it was a hot day and I was sick of nose sweat,
When the guy at the counter held up a cd and asked if I was sure I said without seeing that I was. That it was fine and when my partner asked as well I got impatient and dismissive. I thanked the guy and we left. Its been two years since then and I have not forgotten the story behind that cd or the fact that I should have perhaps held on to it.
The cd in question was Blood Visions by Jay Reatard and it was signed by all three members of the band including the lead singer Jay Reatard himself. I would like to say that yes the name of this band is not great, as a person who has a better understanding of disability rights and advocacy, I know the R word is dehumanizing and never used as a compliment. I think that this could be why the young man who started the band used it. Not to intentionally dehumanize people with disabilities but to indicate to the world how he perceived himself. How he saw himself as not intellectually or emotionally sound. This is not a justification. If he was still alive I would like to think he would engage with the problems of his band name.
His music was loud and aggressive with an undercurrent of sadness and sense of being in the world but not existing within the circle of polite society. Back then I loved the album Blood Visions and only discovered it because I picked up a copy of Vice from the street along with a Beat magazine ( those were the days). My then boyfriend and I read about the band as we rode the 57 tram home and decided to go see Jay Reatard at The Tote.
It was a thrilling sweaty and raucous show. I was a little disappointed because the guitar was so loud and distorted that you could not hear the lyrics. Being a huge fan of his lyrics of deceptively simple shout outs to the big consuming empty, drug dependency and depression, lyrics I was invested in, it disappointed me a little. I stood outside the pit and watched the wall of sound and the front man throw himself around the smallish stage with no regard to his safety. It was the energy I loved.
At the end of the show My then boyfriend emerged from the pit tall and dark and handsome with sweat dripping and his face grinning fit to burst. He picked me up like a feather and threw me over his shoulder. ‘’Lets go home and fuck!’ He said jubilantly. I wanted to stay and get my cd signed. So we did that first.
The drummer and bassist were in the crowd chatting to fans and they signed my cd happily. The drummer wrote ‘I like your butt’ which thrilled me and when they asked my me and my boyfriend if they could take me on tour with them, my boyfriend said sure and then got a bit miffed when I took it too far and started making concrete plans with the guys. When I asked about getting Jay to sign my cd the other band members simply said ‘’Jay doesn’t like people.’’ I said that’s cool can they give him my cd to sign? They did. They went backstage and came back with my cd sleeve that opened out into a small poster, including the signature of Jay in black permanent marker. That was in 2007 on January 13 2010 James Lee Lindsey Junior died in his home in Memphis, Tennesse.
I would get rid of that very important and probably sellable item of music memorabilia eleven years after I witnessed that amazing live show. When the boy and I broke up it was my first one and so I had no idea what was normal. Was it normal for him to go to Japan with the girl he left me for and bring me back a copy of Blood Visions on vinyl? Or was it manipulative? I will never know or fully understand. I do know I have the record and cannot bring myself to get rid of that and its because of that that it was so easy to get rid of the cd.
If the guy at the counter had said explicitly ‘’Hey, love do you maybe want to keep this cd with the whole band signatures? It seems pretty valuable.’’ Things would have been different. But the fact remains that not having the signed cd has not lessened the memory of where I was when I purchased it and had it signed.
The story survives and now its written down. I do not regret getting rid of the cds. I just hope whoever has my signed copy of Blood Visions loves it. Loves the music of that band and feels as connected to the album as I did.
I suppose the lesson here is if you are going to get rid of a cd collection and you are legally blind, perhaps wear your glasses and not have problems with attention span.