The mirror never lies

Jul 12th, 2010 | By | Category: Pop thinking

Coming down the stairs of the department store, there was an overweight, grey haired man with a glum expression coming the other way.  There was a sudden moment of recognition; there wasn’t another man on the stairs, it was a mirror.  The mirror has obviously passed on its opinion to others.

South Great Georges Street in Dublin has a covered market arcade  in the middle of which is a record stall.  Hundreds of 7” singles and 12” LPs costing from €2 upwards and hundreds more CDs are a magnet when passing by.  Standing looking through album after album, when there is never intention to buy more than a Diana Ross single recall days at school when the bus would take us to Torquay on a Saturday afternoon, where there was not much to do other than look through the records at Smith’s, Menzies and Woolworth’s.

The stallholder generally plays serious rock music and at 5.30 pm, something very heavy was being played.  There must have been a feeling of lightness as the end of the day approached, because he suddenly switched genre.  Metal was replaced by the strains of Blondie, “11.59” and then “Will Anything Happen?”.

“Hey, I have that album”, I thought, “12” vinyl to be played on the Dansette”.

It sounded the sort of music to drive home by, particularly when “Sunday Girl” was followed by “Heart of Glass.” Pure pop.  I loved “Heart of Glass”; the taste of vodka and lime and laughter at college discos.  “Ms Harry, where are you?”

Blondie’s “Parallel Lines” amongst the CDs under B.  Just below it there was The Byrds; a compilation of songs from 1965-1967.  Being six years of age when “Eight Miles High” was released; I have no memory of them from childhood years, but the album looked good.

Debbie Harry was still singing as I went to pay.  Proffering the CDs and a €22 note the young man checked the prices and said, “Do you know you can have three for €22?”

“OK”, I said, “I’ll go and look for a third”.

In a helpful voice, he suggested, “There are some old jazz records over there”.

The mirror must have said something to him.

Tempted to buy something recent, to confound his perceptions, I eventually found an album by The Original Fleetwood Mac – from the days before the wonderful Stevie Nicks.

“Would you like a bag?” he asked.

“No, it’s fine.  They’ll fit in my jacket pocket”.

That was the problem; wearing a brown tweed jacket confused him.  Next time I’ll wear a rugby shirt and jeans and he’ll suggest something 21st Century.

Mind you, Slim Gaillard’s “Cement Mixer, Putti, Putti” is considerably better than most of what now fills the airwaves – and he was messing around.

Leave a comment »

  1. No next time wear your clerical collar and see what his expression is when you buy what “rocked” you in earlier years. Your blog yesterday was very deep and meaningful. That old black cloud and it’s sudden descent into an otherwise normal day seems to keep a timetable all it’s own. As I say and I am sure you have heard me say it – It is not until the shoe has pinched your own toe are you in a position to say anything to anybody. So many people have these wonderful cliches, or so they think, that amount to a little pat on the head and they think they have sent you on your little way so much happier for hearing what they said. When the light eventually does shine through we think we have learned how to kick it out of our lives and we will know when it starts again but in reality it is not like that. Each time it is a little bit different and so subtle and the ways and means of getting rid of it before do not work in the same way the next time. Fellow travellers of that road are the people who listen and understand just what one is saying or in so many cases not saying.
    Mirrors are rigged to make us look dreadful except in changing rooms in expensive shops when they are made to flatter so that we will buy the highly priced articles!!!!!
    Be good to yourself.

  2. Ian, I love the blogs rarely feel competent to comment in any meaningful way. However, three things caught my attention this time.
    One you are no overweight, grey-haired man, a fine specimen of youthful cheerfulness is always how you have appeared to this writer at least. I cannot believe that a short spell outside the Pale has done that much damage.
    Two – The Byrds. Alltime favourite was and still is their version of Mr Tambourine Man, circa 1964, I may still have the single somewhere but nothing to play it on!
    Three – the image of you tendering a €22 note AND it being accepted. Are you sure you weren’t wearing your collar? I can’t think of any other reason why you might have gotten away with such a thing.

  3. Not only am I overweight, one segment more on the BMI chart and I would be obese!

    Bob Dylan’s version of ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ has more of a rawness about it.

    The typo of €22 reminds me of the forger who made excellent banknotes – denominated £2 and £6.

    “You silly fool”, his friend commented. “What are you going to do with those? You will have to take them to Blackpool and see if you can pass them off”.

    The forger returned from Blackpool with a suitcase. “Did you get rid of those notes?” asked his friend.

    “I did”, he said, “I got rid of all of them”.

    “What did you do with them?”

    “I swapped them for £3 and £4 notes”.

  4. Ahh, Ian join the club, at least you’ve still got your hair….!!!!

  5. Mirrors. Best avoided. They’re over-rated. The mind’s eye is scrutiny enough.

Leave Comment