Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Failure of the Day: Where’s the Camp? Where’s the Bell?

We are continuing to explore this strange and sprawling hill-less valley one wee town at a time. This weekend’s adventure: Campbell!

For some reason, both of the area’s two “independent” record stores (Rasputin and Streetlight) are located in Campbell, some nine blocks apart on the same street. Neither had the new Harvey Danger CD (I only just this moment learned that the only record store in northern California carrying it is in Cotati, for reasons that I cannot begin to comprehend) and yes, we know we can download it for free. But being as firmly entrenched in the middle class as we find ourselves these days I think entails a certain type of retail responsibility. Plus there’s more stuff on the version they released in the stores.

Harvey Danger’s first album was a big deal to me, but I was sorely, sorely disappointed with their live show, and their second album was mediocre at best, but it’s been 5 years and they DO write quite a lot about curly haired girls so OK, I gave them another shot. Or I will, if the damn thing is ever for sale within 50 miles of me.

I did get a couple more CDs from the Mountain Goats. I have no idea how many CDs there actually are—Mr. The Goats seems to have recorded and released every song he ever whistled in the shower, and I haven’t found a stinky one yet, the fucker.

Campbell was OK. Nicer than the edge of San Jose it rubs up against and anyplace with a Target is a friend to me, but strange. We had been warned that the record store clerks were snooty and there was plenty of inexplicable attitude being hurled—dude, you work in a chain store in the suburbs; seriously, how hardcore could you be?—but the waitresses in the place where we had dinner were straight out of 1965 Central Casting: enormous bouffant hair, glittering eye shadow globs and all. And there are no prunes in the Pruneyard either, but I knew that already because what am I, stupid?


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